Radio station purse giveaway sparks chaos at Pawcatuck nightclub

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Stonington — A radio station promotion at the Phoenix nightclub in Pawcatuck early Thursday night resulted in near chaos along busy Route 2 as attendees parked as far as a half-mile away along the street and on lawns in the surrounding neighborhood.

“It was out of control,” said Pawcatuck Fire Chief Kevin Burns, who responded to the call of the nightclub being over capacity.

The crowd was lured by a promotion by radio station WWRX of Ledyard, more commonly known as Jammin 107.7, to win designer purses worth as much as $2,000.

One woman from Pawcatuck told The Day that listeners texted the station and some were given one of the coveted invitations to the 6-9 p.m. event, where the winners would be drawn. When she arrived at 6 p.m. she said the nightclub was not letting in any more people and a line of about 200 angry people snaked around the building. She said it appeared some without invitations had gotten inside.

Burns said when he arrived there were about 450 people inside, well beyond the 300-350 allowed by fire code.

Burns said he told the radio station and nightclub to immediately hold the drawing and when people left after the drawing, those waiting outside were let in. Burns said cars stretched along Route 2 from Route 78 to West Vine Street, where there are no sidewalks. Burns said the nightclub did not know the radio station had invited more guests than the club's capacity allowed.

Some of those who tried to attend the event took to the station's Facebook page Thursday to criticize its lack of planning.

The radio station could not be reached for comment.

j.wojtas@theday.com 

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