NewsCovering Colorado


State Fair updates exit signs after News 5 raises safety question

Posted at 7:23 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 21:23:27-04

PUEBLO, Colorado — The Colorado State Fair took action on Monday after News 5 started asking questions about a possible fire code violation at the rodeo grandstands. We reached out to Pueblo Fire Inspector Erik Duran when a viewer shared a series of video clips with us from Saturday's Granger Smith concert which appeared to show exit doors that were locked. In one of the clips, additional guests can be seen turning around at the doors.

The trio of wooden doors in question are located between the restrooms and the ticket booth on the southwest corner of the rodeo arena. They were part of the original construction of the venue when it was built during the Great Depression. Duran explained that because the doors open inward, they are out of compliance with current safety codes

"They're non-conforming as an exit door and cannot be used that way."

Locking the doors was the proper course of action. However, Duran noticed during his inspection that the area lacked clear signage directing spectators to the correct exit, the large wrought iron gate next to the ticket booth.

"Any time you have a large gathering of people, we want them to feel safe in that gathering, but in the event of an emergency, fire or other emergency, they definitely know where the exits are to get to safety," Duran said.

City and county officials work with the State Fair management on a regular basis to check for safety issues on the property. In fact, the grandstands were last inspected in October, but Duran said the exit sign issue was missed at that time.

"We do try and catch everything," he said. "On that, it was an oversight, incidentally on our part, for missing that particular identification."

Workers from the state fairs facilities department installed new signs directing spectators to the proper gate shortly after our broadcast.

State Fair General Manager Scott Stoller issued the following statement:

We appreciate the visitor who brought the concern of exit signage in the Colorado State Fair's historic grandstand structure to our attention. We are working in close cooperation with the Pueblo Fire Department, as we have for many years, to remedy the issue immediately and additional signage will posted before tonight's rodeo. The safety of our visitors to the Colorado State Fairgrounds has always been and will always be our highest priority.