It all started with a fire alarm.
Around 9:00 yesterday morning, the fire alarm at the Clarion Empire Hotel went off. The New Jersey hotel was hosting Apex 2015, an annual Super Smash Bros. tournament that’s organized by a crew of east coast gamers called “Team Apex.” No smoke was reported, and the first round of the tournament hadn’t even begun, so the evacuation seemed like a minor inconvenience at the time.
Fire alarm going off at apex, we had to evacuate the tourney room lol #Apex2015
— Casual Friday (@CasualFr1day) January 30, 2015
However, when the fire department arrived and started its investigation, several significant fire code violations were uncovered. According to NJ.com, Mayor Mike Gonnelli, who spends his free time as a volunteer firefighter, cited violations like improperly maintained fire lanes (due to the partial collapse of the parking garage) and the hotel’s failure to take out a permit for the event. So, the fire marshal locked the doors, leaving Team Apex to deal with a parking lot full of irritated gamers.
Fire marshalls just closed the Splatoon room and said the entire event is going to be canceled. Is this actually happening? — CLASH Tournaments (@CLASHTournament) January 30, 2015
Sorry competitors, the fire marshals have put a hold on the tournament. We are having an emergency meeting and will keep every1 updated.
— Team Apex (@apex_series) January 30, 2015
Thankfully, Twitch got wind of the situation, strapped on a red cape, and picked up the phone.
“When we heard that Apex lost the venue, everyone scrambled to help to find another space and luckily the hustle paid off,” said Kevin Lin, Twitch’s Chief Operating Officer. “Apex is an awesome event, so we wanted to assist in any way possible to make sure it could still happen.”
Twitch arranged for a new venue, the Garden State Convention Center in Somerset, NJ, while Team Apex and the rest of the players undertook the massive task of moving their 1,000-person tournament to another location. The event relaunched this morning at 6am and is reportedly running smoothly.
This is the kind of thing that I love to see. The gaming community is famous for in-fighting and hate speech, but Apex 2015 proves we have the potential to do some cool stuff if we can stop stewing in our own self-important hostility.
Good job, Team Apex. Good job, Twitch. Good job, gamers.
Take a few minutes and check out the action on the Twitch stream:
Also, the hotel manager was reportedly placed under arrest for the violations:
— Alex Jebailey (@CEOJebailey) January 31, 2015