Despite several warnings, the Canyon Amphitheater is still in violation of the City's fire code, and NewsChannel 11 has learned the City will shut down the amphitheater before this weekend's Cinco de Mayo celebration, unless the amphitheater can meet the codes before then.
According to the City of Lubbock, this has been an ongoing issue for more than a year now. It all came to a head after the Rhode Island nite-club fire in February. After that incident, which killed 97 and injured dozens more, the Canyon Amphitheater applied for a certification of occupancy.
That's when the Fire Marshal's office inspected the amphitheater and found the pavilion area in violation of several fire codes. The pavilion is where the food, beer and souvenir vendors setup. Here are the violations:
Those are all life safety violations. The amphitheater also has several non-life safety violations. Since that inspection, the amphitheater has torn down the walls and brought the pavilion closer to compliance.
When they did that, the City gave them permission to continue operating as long as the pavilion occupancy didn't exceed 100 people. But, at a concert a few nights ago, it rained, and the city says more than 100 people sought shelter from the rain in the pavilion. That was a violation of the agreement.
So, last Friday, the City issued the amphitheater an order to vacate. The city says the amphitheater will be shut down, possibly before this coming weekend's events. That is unless the amphitheater can get a judge to sign a restraining order, which would temporarily stop the city.
The amphitheater tells us tonight a sprinkler system will be installed by noon on Thursday, but that might not be enough to keep them open. According to our sources, the fire chief will accept nothing short of complete compliance, and the city doesn't expect the issue to be resolved before this weekend.
They could go ahead and throw the celebration, and just break the law, but that would mean hefty fines and possible arrests. They could also move the Cinco de Mayo celebration to another location.