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Halloween Occupancy Concerns

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ASHLAND, Ore. — As dozens gather to celebrate Halloween at local bars and pubs, fire officials are doing what they can to make sure the holiday does not turn into something really scary.

A popular bar in Ashland is not only preparing with Halloween decorations, but also with new safety restrictions. At the Black Sheep Pub, owners are already putting up Halloween decorations and setting up for their big costume party, but they’re also enforcing some special restrictions to keep their guests safe.

According to Ashland Fire and Rescue officials, the biggest safety concern on Halloween is “over occupancy” in clubs and bars.

Ashland Fire and Rescue will have two fire inspectors checking in with businesses that have high occupancy levels. They will also be making sure entrance and exit pathways are clear. Ashland Fire officials say their goal is to keep people safe and prepared in case of an emergency.

“The reason that we do this is because of the historical events that we’ve had in the United States with night club fires and night club tragedies. When we first started this, it was on the heels of the 2003 Rhode Island Fire, where 100 people died,” explained Ashland Fire & Rescue Division Chief Margueritte Hickman.

Ashland Fire and Rescue officials say businesses will be fined 435 dollars for non-compliance and a business can be fined more than once if it has multiple offenses. The Black Sheep’s occupancy level is 152 people. On Halloween night they will only allow minors in the restaurant until 9 p.m., to keep the occupancy levels down.