COLORADO SPRINGS — Several haunted houses have been operating without a permit, according to the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD).
Any haunted house operators who advertise or take money must have a permit. If not, they could be fined up to $2,500 and face possible jail time.
Going to a haunted house out of a home is more risky than those run by a business, said CSFD's deputy fire marshal Kris Cooper. He said the fire department has zero permits from homeowners in the city.
Cooper said haunted houses run by homeowners are more risky because there is usually only one way in and one way out. He also said homes are not intended to hold more people than those living there.
"The code talks about it's illegal to use a location by changing the use or changing the occupancy of what was intended to be done," said Cooper.
Ben Skee has been running a haunted house out of his home in Colorado Springs for six years. But this year, he had to change his display after the fire department called about a permit.
"We did read the fire code and everything and the reason why we thought it didn't apply to us was because it was only mentioning buildings over 1,000 square feet, serving 50 people or more," said Skee.
Skee said he feels it's unfair that homeowners have to follow the same fire code rules as businesses. He said they would only have a few people going through the haunted house at a time.
"[Businesses and homeowners] have to be treated the same way as someone in a commercial building because frankly, the risk is no different," said Cooper.
Skee said he shut down the portion of his display that firefighters said was unsafe.
"[I hope we can find] what regulations make sense [for homeowners] so that we can be safe and meet fire code and not be held to a standard that's not feasible," said Skee.
CSFD said there are no plans to make separate permits for houses and businesses.
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