Pacers vs. Raptors game delayed 70 minutes, fans evacuated due to speaker fire

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A fire in a speaker at the Scotiabank Arena forced a 70-minute delay in the Raptors game against the Pacers Saturday night and forced the evacuation of fans.

The building was empty for the second half as the Raptors picked up the 131-91 win over the Pacers, which, when combined with the Cavaliers lost 98-94 to the Bulls, moved Toronto into the No. 6 seed in the East (and out of the play-in games).

The fire started during the first quarter of the game in a speaker above the stadium’s east end.

Fans were first moved out of the sections under the speakers.

“I was like, ‘Jeez, I wonder why they didn’t sell those seats tonight?’ That was my first thing,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said, via the Associated Press. “Then I saw the firemen standing there.”

Soon another section was cleared out, and not long after the game itself was suspended with 4:05 left in the second quarter, and the fans evacuated.

“You could definitely smell it,” Pacers acting head coach Lloyd Pierce said. “By the time (the game) stopped the smell was tough. Fifteen years for me, probably the most bizarre situation that we’ve been in for a game,” Pierce added.

The Raptors released this statement:

“Saturday’s Toronto Raptors game against the Indiana Pacers at Scotiabank Arena was suspended with 4:05 remaining in the second quarter due to a fire in an overhead speaker. Under the direction of Toronto Fire Services, and out of an abundance of caution, fans were evacuated from the building while the incident was managed. The game resumed approximately 40 minutes later without fans in attendance. MLSE and the Toronto Raptors thank Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Police Services for their assistance and thank all fans for their patience and orderly evacuation. Refunds for tonight’s game will be completed to original ticket purchasers within 30 days.”

Fans were not let back in to watch the second half. Halftime itself was reduced from the standard from 15 minutes to 7 1/2 minutes, and players did not leave the court.

In the end it did not change the game; the Raptors won handily.