HALLOWEEN TRAGEDY

Madrid Arena was denied permits to hold large-scale events two years ago, says city

Inspectors had found serious deficiencies that comprised public safety

Madrid city officials revealed on Sunday that the Madrid Arena venue in the Casa de Campo — the site of the Halloween night tragedy, in which four girls were crushed to death — was never granted a license to hold concerts or massive party events.

In 2009, the economic commissioner Pedro Calvo, who is head of Madrid Spaces and Congress, which manages the arena, tried to get permits from the city’s urban affairs department, but he canceled the applications the following year when building inspectors found serious deficiencies that compromised the safety of the public, including a small number of emergency exits and failures in air vents.

Despite lacking permits, since 2002 Madrid Arena has been the venue for hundreds of sporting events, musicals and concerts, which sometimes packed in 11,000 people. Calvo explained in an interview that the Madrid region’s ground law exempts municipal buildings from requiring a license from urban affairs.

On Friday Madrid Mayor Ana Botella announced she was prohibiting the use of the arena and other city venues for mass events like last Wednesday’s Thriller Music Party, where the incident took place

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