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Queens Blvd. illegal cabaret shut by FDNY

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Almost a week after fire ripped through a Rhode Island concert hall, killing 97 people, owners and managers of live music venues throughout Queens are confident that no major changes are necessary to insure the safety of their patrons. But city fire officials took no chances last weekend, carrying out more than 30 inspections and closing one Queens nightclub, the department said.

Fire inspectors shut down a cabaret at 140-46 Queens Blvd. in Jamaica for failure to provide a second means of egress, according to a department spokesman. Although the action was not unusual, the department said that it did want to ease public fears following the tragic fire last week at the West Warwick, RI, nightclub, the Station. Inspectors are now putting any club or concert space they have not inspected in the last two months at the top of their list.

But most of the borough’s concert spaces are small pubs or bars that present acts only once or twice a week. Though clearly disturbed by last week’s tragedy, most proprietors believe their establishments are safe as is.

Johnny Love, the manager of Long Island City’s Irish Rover, said he had “no plans” to change anything. The pub, which has a capacity of 74, hosts live music only about once a week and never presents acts that use pyrotechnics, the indoor fireworks that caused fire at the Station.

Calling that disaster a “terrible tragedy,” Love said “we’re not that big.”

Even among Queens’ larger venues, owners and managers said there’s little cause for patrons to worry.

Phil Labozzetta, a manager at the 250-capacity Crazy Moose Saloon in Bayside, said the owners were calling a special meeting this week to go over the bar’s fire safety situation.

“We’ll probably implement some more fire drills and make sure all the staff is aware of what to do in case of an emergency,” he said. But he added that overall the Crazy Moose is already doing what needs to be done.

“The ownership is very safety-conscious,” he said. “The building is good. No low ceilings.” He also said the system was wired so that in the event of a fire, the music would cut off automatically and pointed out the building was inspected monthly by an outside company responsible for fire safety.

Moreover, no performances at the Crazy Moose ever involve pyrotechnics, Labozzetta said, and the Bayside establishment has never had a fire in its 14-year history.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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