Acapulco Casinos in Need of Emergency Exits
(Acapulco, NA 29 August) At the urging of Acapulco’s daily, Novedades Acapulco, the municipal Department of Regulations and Events made an inspection of the fire safety in the city’s five gambling establishments. The objective was to avoid a tragedy like the casino fire in Monterrey, caused by narco terrorists, which killed over 50 people. The high loss of life was attributable in part to inadequate and poorly designed emergency exits. Of the five gambling establishments inspected in Acapulco, two were found to be out of compliance with the fire laws: Play City (in Gran Plaza) and Yak (in Galerías Diana). The three judged within compliance were Emotion, Bingo and Caliente (in La Isla).
Both Yak and Play City are on upper levels of the shopping malls and each has a capacity of 300 to 350 persons. Neither one has more than one emergency exit. In the case of Yak, the emergency exit goes through the kitchen, which can easily be engulfed in flames in the case of a fire. The exit is a narrow, metal staircase that is shared as an emergency exit with the movie theaters and several other businesses. This casts even more doubt on the adequacy of the emergency facilities.
In addition to the number and location of emergency exits, the rules require that the doors open outward and that they be wide enough to permit rapid evacuations. The spokesman for the city government said that the fire in Monterrey “obliges us to be more strict” in insisting on compliance with the fire laws. In other words, until the disaster in Monterrey, the officials were not enforcing the safety laws in Acapulco, but now they will. Acapulco has 288 establishments subject to these regulations, of which 30 are discos, 68 are nightclubs of different types and 190 are bars. According to municipal officials, all of them will be inspected, and the safety laws will be imposed on those out of compliance.