Wednesday, June 19, 2013

IFD Missing Inspection Reports For Businesses Affected By Massive Fire Despite Numerous Violations Cited In 2007 Inspection

This comes as absolutely no surprise since performing basic city services has never been a priority of the Ballard administration. Reporters for the Indianapolis Star went searching for past Indianapolis Fire Department inspection reports of Nationwide Recyclers and a neighboring warehouse after the buildings went up in flames on Saturday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of neighboring residents and requiring the assistance of at least 200 firefighters and multiple emergency response units to get the fire under control nearly nine hours later. The last available inspection report dated back to 2007 when the owner of the warehouse was cited for numerous fire code violations. More recent reports can't be found for the affected properties IFD personnel told the Star. Perhaps that's because there were no inspections. The Star's John Tuohy explains:
The City of Indianapolis said Wednesday it cannot find past inspection reports for businesses that burned in a Westside fire last weekend.
“The reporting system and subsequent record keeping system has changed over the last few years and in the transfer process allowed for a more difficult retrieval,” Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Burris said in a written statement . .
The city did release a copy of written correspondence between Deputy Fire Marshal Timothy Smith and Keith Sharp, of Sharp Companies, owner of the property, in February 2007.
In the correspondence, Smith told Sharp that “the following items need to be addressed.”
Smith listed the sprinkler system, the exits, the alarm system, the water supply and the fire department access.
Smith advised Sharp to contact a fire code consultant.
IFD initially told the Star it could not release any of the inspection reports because they had been turned over to arson investigators before Public Safety Director Troy Riggs ordered their release. Burris told the Star the 2007 inspection report was all the department turned over to arson investigators.

Separately, Fox59 News reports that IDEM cited Nationwide Recyclers in 2012 for several violations. The property was re-inspected by IDEM just this month but the results were not available yet.

You may recall my earlier reports complaining about a new self-inspection program implemented this year by IFD after passage of a new ordinance last year authorizing the program despite the lack of any state law authorizing self-inspections for purposes of enforcing the state's fire and building safety laws. IFD complained that it lacked funding to hire investigators to perform regular inspections so it asked thousands of business owners to complete their own inspections annually, and then file their reports with the city along with a filing fee. Businesses who fail to self-inspect have been threatened with higher inspection fees if the department is required to perform an on-site inspection.


CircleCityScribe said...

What happened to "Public Safety is Job #1???"

This happened on Mayor Ballard's watch! He is responsible for failing to conduct fire inspections.

This giant fire included asbestos and The Mayor's neglect of Public Safety shows his apathy....but he'll go on a junket and use OUR TAX MONEY to build a cricket field that NOBODY WANTS!

Murders are set toward an all-time high, and police are at the smallest police force in modern history!

The attitude of the Mayor is "You can't solve them all...move on to the next one!" -It used to be "Do whatever it takes to solve the case!"

Gary R. Welsh said...

And spend more than $40 million to move a fire station, the fire department headquarters and the firefighters credit union so his pay-to-play friends can redevelop a city block with millions in taxpayer subsidies.