Security guard quit before Astroworld due to safety concerns

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A security guard who was hired to work at the ill-fated Astroworld Fest in Houston said in a new report that he ditched the gig on the day of the disaster because of poor training and the incompetence he witnessed.

Darius Williams told TMZ he was hired a few days before the festival by Contemporary Services Corp., which the news outlet said was apparently contracted by either NRG Park, where Travis Scott’s concert was held Friday, or by the promoters of the event.

Williams claimed he felt insufficiently briefed and trained for the concert, which drew some 50,000 people and led to the crush of fans that left eight people dead and some 300 injured amid the chaos.

“It was pretty vague exactly what the roles would be,” he told TMZ. “The day before Astroworld, I completed the orientation and the training for the process, and when I arrived on Friday morning around 7 a.m., they were still pretty vague. [They] didn’t really tell us what we would be doing.”

Image shows Darius Williams during a TMZ interview
Darius Williams said that when he expressed his concerns to his supervisors about working at the front gate, he was offered a different security role.
Courtesy of TMZ
Image of makeshift memorial at NRG Park where Astroworld took place.
The tragedy at Astroworld has left 8 dead and 300 injured.
Getty Images / Alex Bierens de Haan

Williams said that he and the other candidates for the job were required to take a licensing exam for a Level 2 security officer, but claimed that the test was open book and that the instructors even gave them the answers.

“The teacher, he was actually giving us the answers as we were going through the books ourselves and trying to hurry up and fill out the answers,” he told TMZ, adding that the event was “definitely understaffed in every sense of the word.”

“From what I saw, I would say there was probably one security guard for every 500 to 1,000 people,” Williams said.  

Photo shows Travis Scott with fire shooting up behind him.
Scott has teamed up with BetterHelp, an online mental health service, to offer festival-goers mental health treatment.
WireImage / Erika Goldring
Image shows exterior of NRG stadium where Astroworld took place.
Darius Williams told TMZ he was hired a few days before the festival by Contemporary Services Corp.
Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima

He said that when he expressed his concerns to his supervisors about working at the front gate, he was offered a different security role – but he decided to leave because he still didn’t feel prepared.

“I just decided it would be best to just leave and to just not work the festival altogether because I just had a feeling that I would be in unsafe conditions,” Williams told TMZ, adding that the company required virtually no security experience.

The job listing posted by TMZ shows that the responsibilities for the part-time gig, which paid $10.10 to $13 an hour, were “good communication skills, demonstrate safety as a primary focus, respond to emergencies, evacuations, and work with law enforcement, handle or assist with intoxicated guests, act as a deterrent to undesirable behaviors and actions” and “protect people and property as directed.”

Image shows festival goers in the crowd at Astroworld.
The job listing for the event that drew some 50,000 people did not include a requirement for any past security experience.
FilmMagic / Omar Vega

The applicants’ “basic qualifications” were listed as being at least 18 years old, “must be eligible to obtain a non-commissioned security license,” “have a high school diploma or equivalent” and are “subject to background checks.”

Williams also claimed that other people scheduled to work the day of the event also wanted to quit, TMZ said.

Contemporary Services Corp., which is based in Northridge, California, says on its website that the company “has a history of delivering exceptional services for events and venues from as small as one guest to multi-day events hosting hundreds of thousands.”

It also says that “with over 60,000 active and trained team members nationally, CSC currently provides crowd management services for over 110 universities and scholastic institutions, 190 stadiums, arenas and theaters, 48 convention centers, 10 NFL teams, 6 MLB teams, 4 NBA teams, 7 MLS teams and 6 NHL teams.”

The Post has reached out to Contemporary Services for comment.

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