In the wake of the Dec. 2 fire that killed 36 people at an unlicensed venue and residential space inside a warehouse in Oakland, California, the state of Ohio has asked an Athens music venue to cease operation for the time being.
The Venue of Drxvms at 13 W. Stimson Ave. in Athens closed its doors after an inspection by the Ohio Department of Commerce.
Rick Sirois, director of Athens Code Enforcement, confirmed that the fire at the warehouse live-music venue in California happened to coincide, timing-wise, with the local situation.
A state of Ohio-issued “partial building plan” permit that the Stimson Avenue building’s owner, Demetrios Prokos obtained to redevelop the building in 2014 had recently expired.
When Sirois and the state Commerce inspector visited the building, Sirois said, they found no fire sprinkler system, despite the fact that the building plan as submitted by Prokos called for a “new sprinkler and fire alarm system.” Other issues that Sirois noted included improper fire exits and no “fire wall.”
Terry Smith, manager of the music venue (not to be confused with the editor and publisher of The Athens NEWS), said The Venue of Drxvms is only temporarily closed.
“We had a few code issues with our building that we are currently working to fix,” he said in an email on Tuesday. “As we move forward, we have decided to use this downtime to our advantage to go ahead and add some new features to our business that will be announced at a later date. As far as safety goes, we have always, and will continue to work with the city and the state to ensure the Venue is a safe place for people to gather and listen to great live music.”
The Venue of Drxvms is housed in the back of 24-7 Dreams lifestyle brand clothing store located at the same 13 W. Stimson Ave. address. A number of shows have been hosted in the venue since the store opened in spring 2016.
The promoter who books shows at The Venue also books shows at other local venues such as Jackie O’s.