The Rotunda in Kingston was evacuated after an Odeon cinema sign caught fire this evening.
Firefighters were called to the Clarence Street leisure complex at 8pm.
The building was emptied while fire crews dowsed flames coming from the first "O" in the cinema sign on the outside of the building facing Cromwell Road.
Cromwell Road was also briefly closed.
Passer by David Blackmore witnessed the evacuation.
He said: "It was absolutley heaving and there were a lot of people hanging around the station and outside the Rotunda.
"I could see a cherry picker from a fire engine rising as a police officer directed traffic around it.
"The vast majority of people had no idea what was going on. Many had their mobile phones out and were posting pictures onto social media sites trying to establish what was going on."
Twitter user @bilaal_lone posted a video of the firefighters putting out the fire, saying: "Only in Kingston does the Odeon sign set alight."
The fire was extinguished at about 9pm. The Rotunda and Cromwell Road have both since reopened.
Kingston fire station's green watch manager Ian Frame said: "The sign had short circuited and it caught fire to the plastic casing.
"The building was fully evacuated, power to the sign was isolated and the fire extinguished.
"The only delay was making sure the power was isolated and that nothing fell on passers by below."