Fire officials shut down nightclub, community center party

The Chicago Fire Department shut down a South Side nightclub and a party on the roof of a West Side community center early Sunday morning after officials found exposed wiring, overcrowding and other code violations.About 12:15 a.m., fire officials were called to a nightclub in the 2200 block of South Michigan Avenue, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said. The second-floor club had a posted capacity of 80 people, but officials found more than 140 people inside, Langford said.

The officials determined the club lacked directional exit signs and proper lighting, and a rear stairwell was blocked. "If a panicked situation occurred, people who were not familiar with the place would not know how to get out," Langford said.

About ten minutes later, fire officials were alerted to a rowdy crowd at a community center in the 1800 block of South Racine Avenue in the Pilsen neighborhood.People had gathered on the building's roof and were throwing bottles, damaging cars parked nearby, Landford said. When police and fire officials arrived, people inside refused to let them enter, he said.

Officials forced their way in and found exposed wiring, damaged emergency lighting, falling plaster, open candles and weak stairwells, Langford said.

Most of the people inside left when officials entered, making it impossible for officials to determine whether the building had been overcrowded, Langford said.

Fire department officials shut both establishments for the night, and the department's Fire Prevention Bureau will be issuing citations to both, Langford said.

The Fire Prevention Bureau will also refer the community center to the Chicago Building Department for investigation.

The Chicago Police Department cited hosts of both gatherings, Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said.A 40-year-old man at the Michigan location was issued a citation for over-occupancy, failure to comply with an exterior safety plan and a liquor violation.  At the Racine location, police cited a 35-year-old man for public place amusement and a liquor violation.

Twitter: @AdamSege


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