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EPFD inspects businesses for Fat Tuesday celebrations

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 8:30pm

Organizers in the Cincinnati District and Union Plaza have been planning their Fat Tuesday celebrations for months. The City of El Paso wants to make sure it's safe for everyone.

"It's Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday. So at four o'clock the street closes down and we're expecting over 4,000 people down here tonight," said Anthony Duncan, manager of Corner Tavern & Grill.

Duncan said it's the busiest day of the year for businesses in the Cincinnati district.

Across town at Union Plaza in Downtown, everything is set for its own Mardi Gras celebration.

"Hopefully we're expecting between 6,000 to 7,000 people," said Kengi Shigematsu at The Garden.

Before restaurants can open and partygoers can come in, the El Paso Fire Department has to do safety inspections to make sure no one gets hurt.

"We're assuring that everything is laid out like that plot plan. For example, this alley way will be the entrance. We want to make sure there's not abstracting... nothing abstracting the alley way and we make sure the exits are where they're supposed to be," said Shawn Hanke with the El Paso Fire Department.

Hanke was making sure everything is up to safety requirements.

He said with low temperatures, it's important to check outside heaters.

"If you're gonna have them outside, they can't be under a flammable covering. If they are under something that's flammable or combustible it has to be at least a 5 foot clearance," said Hanke.

Hanke said organizers and the city plan in advance to make it's a fun, safe party.

"God forbid something does happen, we do have additional security. We require them to have police department, sheriff's department, fire marshal, EMTs on duty just in case something does happen," said Hanke.

There will be four fire marshals at the Cincinnati District and two at Union Plaza to make sure safety requirements are kept throughout the night.

The parties at the Cincinnati District and at Union Plaza will go until 2 a.m. Wednesday.


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