Criminal Charges Extinguish Serious Fire Code Violations

Issue 3 and Volume 130.

Criminal Charges Extinguish Serious Fire Code Violations features Until recently the Seattle Fire Department’s efforts at obtaining compliance in certain commercial occupancies has met with less than complete success. The issuing of a citation, while an excellent means of handling “no smoking” types of violations, has not proven successful in forcing compliance with more serious regulations in some older commercial buildings—especially hotels. If the owner did not wish to comply, it was possible for him to forfeit bail without appearing in court, with the hazards continuing uncorrected. Now the department has taken a new approach—the filing of a criminal complaint against the owner. This forces the owner to appear in court. Failure to do so results in the issuance of a bench warrant. A good example of how this is working occurred in December and involved the owner of the Milwaukee Hotel. This building suffered extensive damage during a 2-11…

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