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Records: Wedding tent never inspected before collapse

Updated: 06/20/2014 10:10 PM | Created: 06/20/2014 10:09 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The company that owns a tent that collapsed on top of a wedding party at Sandia Resort and Casino now faces a laundry list of citations.

Late Friday, a deputy fire marshal filed six citations against an employee of America Tent Rentals for violating international fire code.  Among the allegations, the employee daisy-chained extension cords together with duct tape, failed to mark emergency exits and place a fire extinguisher inside the tent, and never requested the proper permit and inspection to erect the tent.

The tent collapsed when strong winds blew through the Albuquerque metro on June 7.  It was placed near the resort’s golf course.

“Things were happening so fast, but of the grace of God every one got out of there on time,” Josie Garcia, a wedding guest, told KOB Eyewitness News 4 that night.  She said other witnesses equated the incident to a tornado tearing through the wedding reception.

According to other witnesses, the tent poles knocked down and hurt children.

Salvador Castillo, the owner of America Tent Rentals, would not respond to the citations on-camera.  But he told 4 On Your Side over the phone that he’s never had his tents inspected in the 25 years he’s operated his business.  He said this is the first time he’s seen the international fire code enforced on commercial tent companies in Bernalillo County and said it should have been enforced long ago.

Castillo said his insurance adjuster is still handling the claim related to the collapse.  He said the collapse was purely an act of God.  The adjuster did not immediately respond to an e-mail sent by 4 On Your Side.

On Monday, Castillo said he will meet with Bernalillo County’s building inspectors.  He said America Tent Rentals will continue to do business with Sandia Resort and Casino.


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