L&I issues additional violations on Philadelphia 'pot party' warehouse

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Monday, April 24, 2017
Protest after 'pot party' bust

FRANKFORD (WPVI) -- A warehouse in the Frankford section of Philadelphia that was the setting for a massive 'pot party' housed significant fire hazards, according to the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

L&I released the results of their follow-up inspection of the entire building on the 4500 block of Worth Street on Monday night.

After they arrived to the scene on Saturday, L&I says inspectors noted an open flame had been in use at the event and that the party space had only one entrance/exit. They say this put the 200 plus guests and first responders at significant risk should an emergency have occurred.

L&I issued more than a dozen violations, the majority of which were for infractions of the Fire Code.

L&I posted a Cease Operations Order shutting down the warehouse.

On Monday, L&I conducted a follow-up inspection of the entire building.

According to L&I, inspectors found significant fire hazards throughout the building and issued additional Fire Code violations.

The Fire Code violations include:

  • Fire alarm wiring cut
  • Accumulation of rags, paint, trash, and other combustible materials near potential sources of ignition
  • Some doors leading to the outside blocked and locked, while doors to the fire escapes, designed to close automatically to slow the spread of fire, were propped open
  • Impaired or inoperable overhead sprinklers
  • Past due inspection of sprinkler system and fire extinguishers
  • Indoor use of torches
  • Hanging multiple-plug adaptors and extension cords, including cords wrapped around overhead sprinkler wires
  • Open electrical junction boxes
  • Missing fire extinguishers
  • Failure to post readable signs alerting Fire Department to location of standpipe hose connections

"The additional violations cite the lack of zoning, licensing, or certification of occupancy necessary to authorize use of the warehouse for large parties. Among the requirements for obtaining such authorization is an L&I inspection to assure the safety of the proposed use for the space," L&I said in a statement.

L&I officials say they are inventorying and inspecting approximately 800 large vacant commercial properties across the city to lessen the risk of an Ghost Ship-like incident from occurring in Philadelphia.

36 people died in Oakland, California in December 2016 when a fire erupted inside a warehouse during a dance party.

Philadelphia police say 22 arrests were made when they raided the "Philly Smoke Session" organized via social media Saturday night.

Nineteen males and three females were arrested, but police say 175 others were released without charges.

Mike Whiter, a medical marijuana activist who was at the event, but not arrested told Action News this was about helping people.

"This is Philly Smoke Session. This is the cannabis community of Philadelphia. It's a community that like to help people. That likes to help patients. And a lot of these people here are medical marijuana patients," Whiter said.

In addition to the arrests, police confiscated approximately fifty pounds of marijuana and 100 pounds of THC-infused edibles, four handguns, and $50,000 in cash.


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