MURRAY, Utah (ABC4) – A former Murray haunted house owner is moving his spooky animatronics to Tooele after Murray City said his business didn’t meet code. The former business owner disagreed, and said he was treated unfairly. 

“It’s extremely hard to run any entertainment business, let alone a haunted house business, because all of your income has to come in one month and if you miss that month you’re dead,” former “Dead City Haunted House” owner Timothy Riggs said. 

In the season of spooks, Timothy Riggs said he dealt with an unexpected scare, having his haunted house business shut down due to fire and safety regulations. 

“We were growing, we were building and they just shut us down,” Riggs said. 

Riggs told ABC4 his former business “Dead City Haunted House” ran in Murray since 2018, spending hundreds of thousands to pass inspections every year. 

But this year, he said despite trying to work with the city to be up to code, nothing met the standard, so he sold his animatronics to Asylum 49 in Tooele. 

“And suddenly to have the city officials come out and just completely attack your business felt completely out of line and unfair,” Riggs said. 

Murray city said they have had the same regulations since 2018, when Dead City Haunted House opened. 

The city said they gave Riggs notice of the shutdown in the spring, giving him time to meet code regulations by October, but say it was never met. They said haunted houses have unique regulations for safety. For example, nothing can be made out of wood and hallways have to be big enough for large crowds to exit. 

“A lot of times you’ll have large gatherings at these events, and we want to make sure all of our occupants are safe in there,” Murray City’s Fire Chief Joseph Mittelman said. 

He said they want small businesses in their town, but this one didn’t meet their regulations. 

“It’s actually a heart breaker. I never want to see any business or any occupant or anything have any sort of such down notice. This is actually the only shut down I’ve been apart of,” Mittelman said. 

Riggs said he’s now working with Asylum 49 to expand, and said he’s grateful he can still do what he loves in a city that supports him. 

“It’s such a fun thing to just see the smiles on people’s faces as you make them scream,” Riggs said.