The Fire Inspection*(As B.J. Moore told it, circa 1968.)
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The Garret was always on good terms with local authorities (except the Health Department B.J. refused to pay bribes). Police and Sheriff's Departments would even recommend the place to parents as a safe venue for their kids to hang out. The Fire Department showed kindness in other ways ...
As required by law, a sign hung in The Garret stating that its maximum occupancy was 100 people. Despite the law, the restriction was more often honored in the breach than with compliance. On the busiest nights, crowds of over 350 were known to squeeze in. When we ran out of chairs, stools, benches and sofas, we spread straw mats on the floor and kept admitting people until the waitresses, Sue and Stacey, could hardly get to them.
On one such night, in a pouring rain, a couple of Fire Inspectors scheduled a random check on our compliance with the codes. They walked in the front door and stumbled to a halt, stunned by the sheer magnitude of the violation. Recovering their wits, they slowly walked back to the bar and had a quiet word with B.J.: "We're going to take a five minute break, then come back and count the house." Then they stepped out the back door and gazed at the clouds and rain for a while.
Terrea got up on the stage and explained the problem to the audience. To our amazement, over 300 people got up and flooded out the front door. The inspectors returned, inspected and gave us a clean bill of safety. Then they went on their way, most of the crowd returned and things once again got back to what passed for normal.
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Page last updated: December 5, 2003