Night­club fined $40,000 for fourth over­crowd­ing vi­o­la­tion

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION - KEVIN MARTIN [email protected]­media.com Twit­ter: @KMart­inCourts

Not­ing an over­crowded city night­club could have re­sulted in a dis­as­ter, a Cal­gary judge on Wednes­day or­dered the bar’s own­ers to pay a $40,000 fine, its fourth for vi­o­lat­ing safety codes.

Pro­vin­cial court Judge Mike Dinkel agreed with city coun­sel Paul Frank that a stiff fine was nec­es­sary to de­ter the own­ers of Be­spoke from vi­o­lat­ing the rul­ing.

Dinkel noted raids at Be­spoke, the fourth of which found the club at more than 50 per cent above ca­pac­ity on July 16, 2017, were the re­sult of a pub­lic safety task force struck fol­low­ing a night­club dis­as­ter in the U.S.

“The cat­a­lyst for the PSTF was the in­fa­mous Rhode Is­land Night Club fire in which many peo­ple lost their lives,” Dinkel said, re­fer­ring to a Feb. 20, 2003, in­ci­dent in which 100 peo­ple died and 230 oth­ers were in­jured.

In his writ­ten rul­ing, Dinkel said Be­spoke staff put pa­trons at a sim­i­lar risk.

“If any kind of in­ci­dent, in­clud­ing a fire, had oc­curred that night, the con­se­quences would likely have been cat­a­strophic.

“With that many peo­ple in the build­ing and only two ex­its in place, egress from the build­ing would have been slow and chaotic,” he­said.

“It would have been a night­mare and po­ten­tially fa­tal for the very pa­trons that Be­spoke claimed to care for and wanted to pro­tect.

“Sim­ply put, it was a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen.”

Fire in­spec­tors who at­tended the club dur­ing a Stam­pede event found the bar to be well in ex­cess of the 255 ca­pac­ity.

The door count was 420 and in­spec­tors counted 345 pa­trons be­fore cus­tomers were forced to clear.

It took 80 min­utes to bring the count down to ca­pac­ity.

Be­spoke was also handed to­tal fines of $19,000 for sim­i­lar vi­o­la­tions on Dec. 31, 2014, Aug. 15, 2015, and Oct. 31, 2015.

Safety codes of­fi­cer Frank Schroder had tes­ti­fied he was un­able to find an ex­am­ple where a club else­where in Canada had faced even a third vi­o­la­tion.

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