Recent raid shines light on 'death trap' clubs across city concerning public safety officials

Club had blocked exits, no extinguishers

INDIANAPOLIS - A club that some would call a "death trap" has been shut down, and the Call 6 Investigators are exposing a problem that is threatening the lives of hundreds of people.

The party music came to an end on Saturday when inspectors found 19 fire safety violations in the warehouse in the 600 block of East Hanna Avenue on the city's south side.

"There was nothing to protect anybody if needed to get out," said Sgt. William Carter, with IMPD's nuisance abatement unit.

The club was loaded with candles burning near and around fabric hanging from the walls. The warehouse had no fire extinguishers, no sprinkler system, exposed electrical wires and blocked exits.

Officials said they hadn't seen so many hazards in one place in years.

"All of these things create a recipe for disaster," Carter said.

Dance hall fire disasters have led many deaths in the past decade.

Officials say the set up in the Indy warehouse reminded them of the club fire in Rhode Island that killed 96 people and injured 200 in 2003.

In that same year, 21 died in a Chicago club with several blocked exits.

And this past January in South America, 200 were killed in a Brazil club with only one exit.

In March, inspectors found illegally locked and blocked doors at an Indianapolis dance hall on the city's northwest side.

The Pike Township marshal found so many fire code violations that the owner has decided not to re-open.

In fact, inspectors around Marion County are finding too many of these dangerous hall popping up and risking lives.

"We've had them pop up in barns. We've had them pop up in all types of different places," said IFD Fire Marshal Fred Pervine. "These parties pop up all over the city. Unfortunately, we don't have a large enough staff to find all those places."

The owner of the south side club, Refugio Montes, is in trouble with the city for the fire violations and for working on the building with no permits.

Montes could face fines and court action related to this latest case.



Follow Rafael Sanchez on Twitter: @rafaelontv


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