Evacuation at Rhinoceropolis, 3553 Brighton Boulevard

DENVER — An inspection of 3553 Brighton Blvd. on Thursday, Dec. 9 night revealed numerous serious fire code violations. The fire hazards identified create a hazardous environment including extension cords used for permanent wiring, wrapping paper on the walls and plastic on the ceiling. The building is not zoned for residential use and therefore does not have the required smoke detection devises and fire suppression systems (ie: sprinkler systems), nor does it have a properly working furnace to ensure the safety of anyone living inside.       

Occupants were allowed back in at 11:00 a.m. today to collect their personal belongings.  Representatives from Human Services were on hand to offer any assistance that these individuals may have as a result of this situation.  Additionally, numerous city agencies met with the owner to discuss specific violations and determine the most effective and efficient means for resolution.  

The fire code violations cited in the evacuation at 3553 Brighton Boulevard are as follows:

1.        102.3 Change of use or occupancy. Changes shall not be made in the use or occupancy of any structure that would place the structure in a different division of the same group or occupancy or in a different group of occupancies, unless such structure is made to comply with the requirements of this code and the International Building Code. Subject to the approval of the fire code official, the use or occupancy of an existing structure shall be allowed to be changed and the structure is allowed to be occupied for purposes in other groups without conforming to all of the requirements of this code and the International Building Code for those groups, provided the new or proposed use is less hazardous, based on life and fire risk, than the existing use.

2.        605.5 Extension cords. Extension cords and flexible cords shall not be a substitute for permanent wiring. Extension cords and flexible cords shall not be affixed to structures, extended through walls, ceilings or floors, or under doors or floor coverings, nor shall such cords be subject to environmental damage or physical impact. Extension cords shall be used only with portable appliances. 

3.       803.1 General. The provisions of this section shall limit the allowable fire performance and smoke development of interior wall and ceiling finishes and interior wall and ceiling trim in existing buildings based on location and occupancy classification. Interior wall and ceiling finishes shall be classified in accordance with Section 803 of the International Building Code. Such materials shall be grouped in accordance with ASTM E 84, as indicated in Section 803.1.1, or in accordance with NFPA 286, as indicated in Section 803.1.2.


1. Materials having a thickness less than 0.036 inch (0.9 mm) applied directly to the surface of walls and ceilings.

2. Exposed portions of structural members complying with the requirements of buildings of Type IV construction in accordance with the International Building Code shall not be subject to interior finish requirements. 

4.       305.1 Clearance from ignition sources. Clearance between ignition sources, such as luminaires, heaters, flame-producing devices and combustible materials, shall be maintained in an approved manner.

5.       308.1.5 Location near combustibles. Open flames such as from candles, lanterns, kerosene heaters and gas-fired heaters shall not be located on or near decorative material or similar combustible materials.

About the Denver Fire Department: Founded in 1866, the Denver Fire Department is dedicated to providing quality, timely and professional emergency services to those who live in, work in, and visit the City and County of Denver and the communities we serve; respecting each other through trust, pride, diversity, integrity, and training; and working together to achieve the highest levels of preparedness, prevention, and community involvement with dedication to purpose. The Denver Fire Department is on Facebook (DenverFireDepartmentCO) and Twitter (@Denver_Fire), www.denvergov.org/fire

The post Evacuation at Rhinoceropolis, 3553 Brighton Boulevard appeared first on North Denver Tribune.

North Denver Tribune

RiNo Art District’s Response to Rhinoceropolis

Last night, we – the staff and board of the RiNo Art District – watched the eviction of individuals from Rhinoceropolis unfold on social media and mainstream press alongside the rest of you. We did not know it was happening. We did not see it coming.

Rhinoceropolis opened in RiNo in 2005 and has defied the odds by existing as an all-ages DIY venue that has been welcoming artists and hosting performances at 3553 Brighton Blvd. It’s been the heart of the underground scene in Denver, introducing new bands and artists to the scene. It has been viewed as more than just a performance venue, but also a place for new, young artists to experiment and grow their talent. The building’s landlord has long supported the venue by providing affordable rent, creating a safe, up-to-code space, and allowing Rhinoceropolis to continue doing its thing. 

We have learned that the eviction was a directive of the Deputy Chief of Police, likely a knee-jerk response to the tragedy at Ghost Ship that occurred earlier this week. While we support any effort to ensure that people are safe and protected in such spaces, we feel this rash move to evict people on a cold winter evening without reaching out to us, or other partners, to identify a solution or strategy, was a misstep. 

In the last 24 hours, we have been actively engaged in a conversation about how to right this situation. By all accounts, it appears that Rhinoceropolis will be able to continue as a music venue, but not as a home. We respect both the zoning code and the rights of the property owner on that particular matter. 

But this matter brings to the fore a bigger conversation about the need for affordable, flexible creative space within the City of Denver, and RiNo, for artists. Rather quietly, the RiNo Art District, Business Improvement District and General Improvement District have been working on a number of initiatives to this end, even as we recognize the changing, challenging dynamics happening here. It’s time to be louder. It’s time to be bolder.

So, here’s what happens next.

1.     We are committed to working with Rhinoceropolis, the property owner, Denver Fire Department and Denver Police Department and the City of Denver to reopen Rhinoceropolis as a music venue as soon as possible.

2.     We will be relooking at zoning of former industrial buildings in our neighborhood, such as the one Rhinoceropolis calls home, to identify how we can make amendments to allow for utilizing these affordable spaces as live/work places for our artist community in a safe way.

3.     With urgency, we will be continuing our conversation with the City about the importance of artist-run spaces and what we all can do to help ensure they continue to exist, in a safe, but affordable way so that our artists can live and create in our urban core. Shutting things down is not a solution. Working together, creatively, to address safety issues while allowing creative uses… IS.

We must start giving artists their fair dues. They should be supported and celebrated as culture makers and shapers. Cultural institutions like Rhinoceropolis must have a home here in Denver if we want to truly be a first-class city with a creative soul.

If you want to join the RiNo Art District in supporting this work, we need you. Contact us HERE to get involved.

The post RiNo Art District’s Response to Rhinoceropolis appeared first on North Denver Tribune.

North Denver Tribune