One of the exits at the Pulse nightclub was inoperable weeks before the massacre of 49 patrons by a gunman on June 12, but the gay nightclub had twice the number of exits needed to accommodate its maximum occupancy of 300 patrons, according to emails and texts released Tuesday by the Orlando Fire Department.
The last fire inspection at Pulse was conducted in late May when the inoperable door was discovered. A follow-up visit was planned but hadn’t yet been assigned so it wasn’t known if the problem was fixed, according to an email exchange between Orlando Fire Marshall Tammy Hughes and Fire Chief Roderick Williams.
Hughes said that was within a normal follow-up schedule.
“NO concerns about our practice at this time,” Hughes wrote in the June 12 email.
In a separate text message, Hughes said the club’s six exits were enough to handle double the allowable occupancy.
The emails and texts were released on the same day of the first of two court hearings over whether 911 calls from the Pulse massacre can be made public.
Nearly two dozen news media organizations – including The Associated Press, CNN and The New York Times – contend city officials are wrongly withholding recordings of 911 calls and communications between gunman Omar Mateen and the Orlando Police Department. Mateen was killed by police after a standoff in the shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.
City officials claim the recordings are exempt under Florida law.
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