ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Despite a $60 million facelift, the University of New Mexico's arena still isn't up to fire code, and a frustrated fire marshal says if something is not done soon, he may have to shut it down.
Part of the problem is with the arena's ventilation system. If a fire broke out, State Fire Marshal John Standefer said there would be no way to clear the smoke so people could exit safely, and that's just one of the issues.
"Unfortunately as we got into the season they did a miserable job of doing that," Standefer said. "We found oftentimes their safety people were not in place. They were late arriving or they left their post and went to other parts of the building.
"We even found on two occasions that those individuals were asleep."
All cooking at The Pit has been banned while crowds are present, and there must be extra fire extinguishers, more kitchen staff and additional crowd control present during any events at the arena.
UNM officials agreed to voluntarily close The Pit if the ventilation system isn't in place by Jan. 31. If The Pit doesn't meet its deadline the Fire Marshal's Office could be forced to red-tag the building. The Pit would shut its doors.
The next home game for the Lobos is Thursday when the women's basketball team takes on New Mexico State University.
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