Charlotte Haunted House Closed - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Charlotte Haunted House Shut Down

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It's been scaring people of all ages in Charlotte, Iowa for 20 years, but tonight the town's community-run haunted house has been shut down. 

Organizers got word less than 24 hours before opening night that this haunted house was a no go.   

"'Sorry to say if we open haunted house, EMC Insurance will cancel all insurance for the city immediately. It's a no go,'" a text message from Charlotte mayor Peggy Sellnau said Friday. 

"I got the phone call, and I really thought it was a joke," Volunteer Seth Stoller says. 

The haunted house is put together by volunteers and is not for profit; instead all the money goes back to the town's community center.  

But organizers say yesterday some city council members and a risk management assessor went through without any notice. What they saw was an unfinished haunted house with various materials and props spread out along the halls.     

But organizers say they would've cleared all this before opening night if they were given the chance. 

Organizers got word less than 24 hours before opening night and spent hours all night into the early morning trying to finish the haunted attraction, but it was too little too late.  

"We're going to have a number of people who would be otherwise volunteering here, they're planning on coming up and kind of hanging out and providing phone numbers for council members and things if people want to get in touch with them," Charlotte Area Activity Center (CAAC) Board Member Bridget Boehmer-Campbell says.  

The city doesn't have building or fire codes, but state fire code says that an inspection report must be provided to the people responsible for the building. 

Organizers say a copy of the violations was given to a city council member, but not them. 

"We have a vague idea of what they are," Boehmer-Campbell says. 

Even without a fire code, organizers say they do their own inspections and ten volunteer firefighters are on staff working the haunted house each night.  

"Usually the night before we open up, everybody has their room done, and we will walk through," Stoller, who is also a Charlotte volunteer firefighter, says, "We look at everything, we make sure there's no nails sticking out; we don't want anybody getting hurt." 

Organizers say they passed an inspection in January and have never had anyone get hurt in 20 years. But they say what hurts the most is the lack of desperately needed funds at the community center.  

"We use the community center for Christmas parties and Halloween parties for the kids, basketball practice," Stoller says, "If the haunted house is shut down, nobody can enjoy the benefits of having a community center."

TV6 did try to get in touch with those city council members and the insurance company; so far we have not heard back.

For now, the haunted house is closed until further notice, and the unexpected shut down has had many upset Charlotte residents voicing their concerns on the haunted house's Facebook page.

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