Problems with Door Access, Venue Violence Put Red Flag on Concert Hall

Members of the Unified Fire Authority were scheduled to meet with the fire marshal today to determine if any citations should be issued for a concert at Saltair that got a little out of hand over the weekend.

The old concert hall was hosting a show by rappers Insane Clown Posse, known for their violent lyrics and rabid group of fans called "juggalos," some of which have been linked to gang activity.

Seven people had to be transported to local hospitals. Most of the injuries were minor except for two, said UFA spokesman Travis Hanberg.

One of those more seriously injured included a man who put his arm through a glass window and cut a major artery. He was taken by medical helicopter to a local hospital, Hanberg said.

After paramedics and deputies from the sheriff's office took care of that man, they realized more units needed to be stationed outside Saltair on standby.

"Once our engine companies arrived, we didn't feel it was a safe place for everybody," Hanberg said.

The problem was more people showed up for the concert than promoters expected. Although the estimated 2,200 concertgoers were still well within Saltair's capacity, an inadequate number of security personnel were on duty that night, he said.

An additional seven engine companies and six rescue units were called to the concert. In addition to the seven people transported to hospitals, a dozen or so were treated and released at the scene or drove to the hospital on their own, Hanberg said. The majority of injuries were bumps, bruises and cuts from being in the mosh pit.

Firefighters and paramedics also noticed several safety violations while inside Saltair. The violations were mostly minor but still something that needed to be brought to the attention of the building owners, Hanberg said.

The most serious violation was everyone using lighters and smoking inside the building, a violation of the state's indoor clean air act. It got so bad that an announcement had to be made from the stage for everyone to stop, Hanberg said.

The next band that came on stage, however, encouraged everyone to start smoking and the problem became worse, he said.

There was also a problem with the exit doors. Some of the mechanisms on the door weren't up to code, a problem the UFA has been working with the venue for some time to correct, Hanberg said.

Although the violations weren't major, Hanberg said a few policies need to be changed and a few things updated at Saltair to prevent the next concert from getting out of hand.