Colorado Springs Fire Department Shuts Down DIY Venue Flux Capacitor

The Colorado Springs Fire Department shut down the DIY space Flux Capacitor for having the wrong zoning classification for public events.

"We told them to cease and desist all activities," says Deputy Fire Marshal Kris Cooper.

At first organizers thought they could bring their space back into compliance. Monday afternoon, they announced they could not.

The department had received an anonymous tip from a person who had attended a recent show at the venue shortly after the Ghost Ship fire and expressed concerns that Flux Capacitor was similarly unsafe.

The fire department did not cite the venue for any particular structural issues, faulty wiring or lack of sprinklers. Instead, it shut down the space because it was not licensed to host large events.

"Our goal is to make sure that places like this are safe for the public," Cooper says. "We're certainly not in the business of trying to stop the small music scene."

Westword's Tom Murphy recently profiled the venue, writing, "When Flux Capacitor opened the first week of December 2014, no one thought it would last more than three months. But the DIY venue has become a staple of the Colorado Springs music scene, with a national reputation for quality, wide-ranging shows and good times."

The closing of Flux Capacitor came as no surprise to the venue's operators in the wake of Oakland's Ghost Ship fire that triggered cities nationwide to inspect DIY arts spaces: The Bell Foundry in Baltimore was shut down on December 5, and residents at Rhinoceropolis and Glob in Denver were evicted December 8 and the venues shuttered until they came into compliance with fire code, over what the city refers to as "life safety concerns."

In the weeks since the Ghost Ship fire, safety departments nationwide have been on "heightened alert" for similar spaces in their cities, says Cooper. But as to rumors that there is a coordinated national effort to shut down the DIY scene, he says, "I'm not aware of anything like that."

The Flux Capacitor Facebook post announcing its initial closure stated: "We were worried about this and it is with a troubled heart to say that the fire department came in today and found that our area is not up to code. There a few easy minor, simple things that we need to fix and we should be back and running."

The venue canceled a show on Saturday and relocated upcoming events.

Community members wrote notes of support, offered up other venues to host shows, and pledged to donate their services as electricians.

By Monday, the organizers realized they would not be able to bring their space into compliance, posting: "Today we found that it isn't possible to get this building up to the proper code. It hurts us to say that flux capacitor in this current location is no more. We will be looking at new locations where we can properly do this and move on to the next adventure."

The post continued: "What we learned from these 2 years of pure love, community, and fun was that this isn't diy, this has been D.I.T: do it together."

Below are Flux Capacitor's Facebook posts about the eviction and the group's plans.

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris