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Club owner plans to take legal action after fire marshal shuts down overcrowded venue
BATON ROUGE - The state fire marshal shut down a Baton Rouge night club after finding hundreds of people inside the dangerously overcrowded building this weekend.
"What we found was a building that had almost 800 people in there," Fire Marshal Butch Browning said.
The state fire marshal's office and BRPD went inside the Palace 2300 night club Saturday night along Scenic Highway. Browning said the building's capacity is around 100 people.
"If there had been an emergency, had there been a fire, had there been some kind of panic that would have required people to evacuate that building - it's very possible that people could have been injured and maybe even died in that type of emergency," Browning said.
Torrey Lewis, who owns the club, claims there was "no where near 800" people inside and that the fire marshal's office told him they were coming to inspect his business.
"There was no sort of inspection. It was an illegal raid. They were searching in
refrigerators. They were searching in garbage cans. They were searching under tables," Lewis said.
Lewis said the raid hurt his business, and he plans to take legal action against the fire marshal's office for coming inside his business without a search warrant.
"They came in there and ran every body out. It was terrifying. It was nothing a customer should have to go through," Lewis said.
Browing said he stands by the actions taken by his department.
"We are not going to tolerate people going to a building that is not safe and overcrowding it and putting the public's lives in danger," Browning said.
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