Fire department makes sure haunted houses are ready for business

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Heading to a haunted house this weekend? Before you can come face-to-face with any ghost or goblin, the Fort Wayne Fire Marshal inspects each haunted house to make sure it’s ready for business.

NewsChannel 15 visited the Haunted Castle where organizers have worked year-round to make sure you’re ready for a scary treat. However, before you even set foot on the property, the Fort Wayne Fire Department works with haunted houses like this one to make sure they’re up to code for your safety.

The work starts outside.

“We’re going to look at access outside to make sure that we can gain access to the building,” said Jim Murua, Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal for the Fort Wayne Fire Department.

Fire officials also look for a working sprinkler system and a clear connection.

Jim Murua said a layout of the haunt, working exit lights, access to the fire alarm system and nearby fire extinguishers are key. Horn strobes will sound in case of an emergency.

“The sprinklers are dropped underneath, we just want to verify that as well,” said Murua.

Although you won’t be able to see it in the dark, some ceilings are open.

“We’ll look at something like this to make sure that this is open that the sprinkler, the water can actually come through it in the event they couldn’t have something solid here,” said Murua.

“Any given night on a low-side, we’ll have 150 people, sometimes that tips to 200 volunteers working on the property aside from the customers on the property,” said Keith Hedrick of Haunted Castle.

Paramedics and police are also on hand during each and every haunt.

Cameras and a place where they can stand and look down on everything help Hedrick and his crew know exactly what’s going on and where.

“We can talk to each other all the time, oh my gosh, we’ve got hundreds of radios,” said Hedrick.

Murua said some places have been shut down in the past and with the fire department’s help, re-opened.

However, for the most part, haunt enthusiasts have been working with the department long enough, that they know what it takes to open for business.

This system of checks and balances ensures you get scared safely.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department inspects the local haunted houses. According to Murua, the state fire marshal is responsible for haunted houses in the surrounding counties.

According to Hedrick, with the help from the fire department, the State Fire Marshal developed a manual for temporary haunted events, based around the Haunted Castle building.


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