published Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

807 Fire and Ice Club in Chattanooga may be ruled safety hazard

The 807 Fire and Ice club is located on Market Street.
The 807 Fire and Ice club is located on Market Street.
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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A Chattanooga regulatory board is investigating whether 807 Fire and Ice Club on Market Street poses a public safety hazard after shots were fired during a series of violent brawls there Sunday morning.

The City Council and city attorney are examining safety issues associated with the club, which has already had its beer license revoked by the Beer and Wrecker Board because of fights and other problems.

The city's attorney's office has put the club under scrutiny, said Mayor Ron Littlefield's spokesman Richard Beeland.

"Their office is looking into the matter to see if there's anything they can do to address the irresponsible behavior of the patrons and the management of this institution," Beeland said.

As of September, police had received 53 calls to Fire and Ice's address.

City Councilwoman Deborah Scott said the council's Subcommittee for Beer Code Review is seeing if there is a way to have establishments' liquor licenses revoked or examined more quickly when the beer board revokes their beer licenses.

Though the Beer and Wrecker Board voted to revoke the club's license to sell beer in October, Fire and Ice owners appealed the decision to Hamilton County Chancery Court and can sell beer while awaiting a hearing.

"We've done all we can do," beer board Chairman Ron Smith said.

He added that it doesn't appear that Fire and Ice owners have tried to improve security at the club.

The club's attorney, Arvin Reingold, said he couldn't comment because he wasn't familiar with the latest incident at the club.

Messages left on the club's voicemail were not returned.

While the city controls beer licenses, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission controls liquor and wine.

If police frequently send reports to the commission, listing an establishment as a nuisance, agents will write violation reports on the business, according to Brad Allison, the ABC's special agent in charge in Nashville. If enough of those stack up, the business is sent to a revocation hearing in Nashville, he said, and if the administrative law judge moves to revoke the license, the final decision lies with the commission.

Allison said he could not speak directly to the case at Fire and Ice at this point.

In the most recent incident at the club, the first of a series of fights took place outside Fire and Ice around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Chattanooga police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary.

While officers attempted to break up the fight, it moved down the street to the intersection of Eighth and Market streets, she said.

Meanwhile, another fracas broke out at the front door of Fire and Ice, and an even larger fight erupted inside, Weary said. As officers tried to reach both incidents, shots were fired inside the club, she said.

Officers reported that tables, chairs, bottles and glass were being thrown in the club, Weary said. Additional officers were called in from other areas of town to help restore order.

An employee of the bar, Adam Alejandro, was injured when he was struck in the head with a bar stool as a security guard and a patron fought, Weary said. Alejandro had to receive stitches for a laceration to the head.

In the end, Marcus L. Jones, 25; Aaron Mitchell, 19; and Christopher Penn, 20, were arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. Jones also was charged with resisting arrest and Penn was charged with two counts of domestic assault. More charges are pending against others, Weary said.

Staff writer Naomi Jagoda contributed to this article.

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