Parties shut down for overcrowding, safety concerns

February 10, 2013 7:34:38 PM PST
Days before the 10-year anniversary of the E2 nightclub tragedy, Chicago police and fire officials shut down two parties for code violations, including too many people and too few safe exits.

Chicago Police and Fire officials have shut down two parties, citing safety code violations.

The first incident took place in the South Loop at Riff Music Lounge. The club is located on the second floor.

Fire and police responded to a call about overcrowding and found about 140 people inside a space designed for 80 people.

"It was pretty crowded, but not to where you couldn't move," said partygoer Andrea Walton.

Investigators shut down the party just after midnight citing numerous code violations including overcrowding and problems with the exits.

The club owners have been cited for a number of safety code violations. Word of the shutdown is a shock to Artist manager Calvin Moore.

"Pressure Point has always been good to us. There's never been any problems when I've been here," Moore said.

Firefighters forced their way into a second party at a community center in the Pilsen neighborhood after neighborhood residents called police about people throwing objects from the roof damaging several parked cars.

Authorities found candles lighting the stairway, live wiring, and a ceiling that was falling apart.

"I don't believe it was an approved party. That we'll be working together with Buildings to find out whether the place had a permit for having a party there," said CFD Deputy Commissioner Richard Ford.

All this comes just a few days shy of the 10-year anniversary of the E2 nightclub tragedy that killed 21 people.

Someone sprayed pepper spray which triggered a stampede causing dozens to be trampled to death as they tried to escape the building.

Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti said public safety must be maintained.

"I'm going to look at whether or not they have a security system in place, whether they had security guards in place. All of this impacts, first of all, what should be given a license, and secondly, it should be a determination if the business is going to go forward at that location," Fioretti said.

It is expected that city officials will return to the location on South Racine to determine if indeed that building is save.

In the meantime, it appears the fate of the South Loop club will be determined by a hearing.