AUSTIN, Texas - Fond memories turned into pain when John Riedie heard about the fire in Oakland.
"I was thinking about a time a few years ago that I spent three nights in an artist's warehouse in Oakland and thinking about my friends living in alternative spaces in Austin," said Riedie, CEO of the Austin Creative Alliance.
Dozens of people died when fire broke out during a warehouse party in a space where people lived and worked.
As head of the Austin Creative Alliance, Riedie knows starving artists will skimp on living costs.
"Rents are going up really fast, which is driving artists to even cheaper and cheaper spaces that probably have less infrastructure, no sprinkler systems," said Riedie.
It’s a dilemma that could cost someone their art or their lives.
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"Artists will make art at any cost, and if it means being in an improvised space that doesn't have all the safety features they need, they'll do it," said Riedie.
For safety officials, the problem goes large scale with illegal party operators cutting corners.
Austin’s Fire Marshal Robert Vires says most events stay compliant, but not all.
"We had one incident during SXSW for an unscheduled party in a house that we stopped and found out that it wasn't permitted, and they had too many people inside the house," said Vires.
Despite that incident, Vires doesn't believe those they have busted had malicious intentions.
"For the most part, I believe people are trying to do the right thing," said Vires.
Permits can be costly, so Riedie proposes the city come up with an affordable alternative.
"We've seen other cities investing in artistic spaces so the rent is cheaper, and the artist can afford to make the upgrades to keep the spaces safe," Riedie said.