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Are Austin Bars Prepared For A Fire?
Michael Cash, the owner of Midtown Bar, can tell you the exact minute his business went up in flames. In 2005 the bar caught fire and burned to the ground, but no lives were lost. Cash said he is convinced his bar's evacuation plan saved the 85 lives inside.
"It takes everything away from you, it has no control. Things happen in a matter of seconds, I mean a matter of seconds," Cash said.
Midtown reopened in August of 2012, and Cash said he still uses the same safety plan.
"Preventative measures are the most important thing in case something like that happens again," Cash said. "You have to have a plan. You have to have a plan A and plan B."
The Austin Fire Department said they have one of the strictest inspections in Texas. The department has issued 30 code violations over the last year, which is half as much as the previous year.
David Brietzke, with the fire department, said the City Council is responsible for adopting safety codes and wants to ensure the well-being of its citizens with strict codes.
"Some of the older buildings fall into the adopted codes that they used when they were built, so if they have any mayor remodel we will bring them up to today's code, which is more stringent," Brietzke said.
Brietzke said the best way to stay safe during an emergency at a public venue is to immediately identify all the exits around you. In most fires people make the mistake of trying to leave the same way they came in, even when another exit is closer. Also, if it feels too crowded, Brietzke said it probably is and should be avoided.
By Cassie Gallo