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Re: CA : Warehouse party organiser busted on Canadian “PEL” charges

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Charges likely in wake of rave

Veronica Rhodes

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Regina fire investigators are looking into several possible fire code violations after authorities pulled the plug on a rave in the warehouse district Saturday night.

Angela Prawzick, a spokeswoman for the Regina Fire Department, said investigators are looking at a number of charges stemming from the rave, which had roughly 350 people packed into a building on 7th Avenue and Halifax Street before it was shut down by authorities.

Some of the possible violations of the fire code include overcrowding, blocked and locked exits, inadequate and lack of emergency lighting, inadequate and lack of exit signage and outdated fire extinguishers.

“Under the fire code, for an event like this, there needs to be a number of things in place such as the number of exits given the number of people, the number of people allowed under square footage, those types of things,” explained Prawzick.

“The last thing you need is to have an overcrowding situation and a fire happening with exits that are blocked. Ultimately our major concern is for the safety of people in the community, people at an event like this.”

Prawzick said any possible charges under the fire code may not be laid until later this week.

Fire officials worked in conjunction with the Regina police, the City of Regina and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) to break up the rave around 11 p.m. Saturday night. The party was being held on two floors of an old warehouse, where propane heaters designed for outdoor use were used inside the building.

The rave, known as Scream 5, was advertised online and a recorded message on a toll-free phone line gave partygoers instructions to park in the old Superstore parking lot on Albert Street.

From there, vans transported people to the party location.

The message warned, however, that only those people transported to the event by van would get in and people could not follow the vans and park outside the building to attend.

“We do not want cars or vehicles of any sort around the warehouse to draw attention. It is an old-school party so please play by the rules,” said a male voice on the message.

SLGA spokesman David Morris said Regina police requested SLGA staff accompany officers to the rave to determine if the sale of alcohol was permitted, but organizers did not have a liquor permit to sell alcohol legally. While the SLGA has the power to issue sanctions on liquor-permitted establishments, Morris said in the event where alcohol is not allowed at an event, any possible charges will be determined by police.

Regina police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said charges are anticipated but may not be laid for a few days. She could not remember a similar event in recent history that had been attended to by police members.

Jeff Bashutski is director of the Connect Electronic Music Festival, a family oriented event held every summer at a campground an hour west of Regina. Bashutski worries this incident will give people a negative view of the electronic music community.

“I hope this doesn’t tarnish what, first of all, has been built here by the music community but beyond that, people’s view of electronic music and the people that gather at these events,” he said.
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2006

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