Houston Roller Derby Gets Blocked By The Fire Marshal

The Houston Roller Derby (here's a feature on it) had a rough night Saturday.

A big crowd packed into Kicks Indoor Soccer Arena on Shepherd in the Heights for a round-robin match....and that was the problem.

The Kicks facility has a legal capacity of no more than 277; maybe 900 people were in the place, according to the Fire Department.

It still would have been OK (assuming there wasn't a fire and a panicked stampede to the exits), until someone called in a complaint. That's when the fire marshals showed up.

"We got there and saw it was overcrowded," HFD senior inspector John Garcia tells Hair Balls.

The event was canceled, but Garcia wants to emphasize that HFD didn't shut anyone down.

"That was [the owner's] decision," Garcia says. "We got everyone out and told him he could let [277] in; he decided not to do that."

(Garcia didn't have the paperwork in front of him when he talked and couldn't remember whether Kicks' official capacity was 271 or 277.)

The owner was ticketed for overcrowding and for not applying for a public-assembly permit. If he had applied for it he would have found out, Garcia said, the legal limit for the place.

The Roller Derby is telling fans to hang onto their tickets.

[Saturday] was such an exciting night of play that ended in a way none of us could have expected. We are so sorry for the inconvenience and the disappointment of the night ending short. It was a huge let-down for us as well, and HRD is working with Kicks to figure out how to handle the situation. Hold onto your tickets and check back here for updated information.

Derby bouts at Kicks are relatively new; before that they were held in the Verizon Theatre downtown.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly