Boiler Room owners agree to close bar

By WLOX Staff

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A business the City of Gulfport singled out as a "nuisance" is closing its doors for good. The city announced Friday evening that the owners of the Boiler Room on 30th Avenue agreed to be closed by Monday and to remain closed permanently.

"Our No. 1 responsibility is the health and safety of our citizens," Mayor George Schloegel said. "The violence at the Boiler Room was unacceptable and we had to be proactive."

The city filed a complaint in Chancery Court last month against the Boiler Room based on a history of criminal activity, parking issues and disturbances. The complaint said the barroom had become a public nuisance, leading to a diminished quality of life for the surrounding neighborhood and a safety concern for patrons.

"I want to thank the residents in this neighborhood who have worked with the city and partnered with us to help bring a swift resolution to this dangerous situation," Mayor Schloegel said.

Gulfport police have been called out to the Boiler Room on numerous occasions in recent years, the last of which was in July when a man allegedly held a gun to the head of a club security guard. A fight broke out and police were needed to defuse the situation. Before dawn on Easter Sunday, April 12, a gunman open fire inside the Boiler Room, killing one man and seriously wounding a woman.

Since 2004, the Boiler Room has been the scene of at least nine shootings, including two that were fatal. The club was closed after the Easter killing because of city fire and building code violations.

The state Health Department and city fire and code departments inspected the building after the murder, finding more than 50 violations.

A month later, the Boiler Room reopened on a pledge to provide stronger safety measures for the public, which included installing metal detectors at the doors and hiring a new security firm. Immediately after the reopening, Gulfport police dispatchers handled a rapid increase in emergency calls to the area.

Neighborhood residents voiced their concerns to city officials and to the City Council, saying the Boiler Room is destroying their community. After Monday, the nightclub on 30 th Avenue will no longer exist.

"We plan to continue working to resolve these issues and to protect our people wherever these problems may occur," said city attorney Jim Halliday, who led the effort to close the business.

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