Fire department responding to false alarms at hotel

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — The Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department is concerned about time and resources being spent to respond to continual false alarms at the Comfort Inn in Ferdinand.

The false alarms have been caused by shower steam, so there is no real risk, but both the fire department and Ferdinand Police Department have to be dispatched to the hotel to make sure. There have been more than half a dozen false alarm calls to the hotel this year, Fire Chief John Hoppenjans said.

Both the individual hotel and the corporate franchise have been contacted by the town in order to find a solution, but the alarms haven’t yet stopped. The town has issued several fines to the hotel, as well.

“There’s nothing they’re doing that’s physically breaking the law,” Hoppenjans said.

The Ferdinand Town Council discussed how to move forward with the situation at a Tuesday evening meeting.

“My worry is that the alarm is going to go off one day and it’s going to be a legitimate reason and our guys are not going to be in a rush and say, ‘Oh it’s another false alarm,'” Town Council President Ken Sicard said. “Or they’re responding to another false alarm and we have something bigger happen elsewhere, and now we’ve diverted a truck or two along with firefighters.”

Hoppenjans said the latter  that responding to a false alarm could pull personnel and resources away from an actual urgent call  is the fire department’s main concern.

The majority of the alarms are coming from two rooms in the hotel where the exhaust system is working improperly, but the hotel has continued to rent out the rooms, Town Attorney Sharon Bohnenkemper said.

The town plans to continue communication with the hotel and send a town representative to speak with the staff in person if the problem is not solved, Bohnenkemper said.

The council also:

• Approved an ordinance stating that decorative lighting is not available to advertise for businesses, festivals or events that are not sponsored by the town.

• Granted permission to advertise for two open town employee positions.

• Signed a Community Crossings Matching Grant financial commitment letter. The town has agreed to spend no more than $160,000 of its own money for the street improvements involving the grant.

• Accepted a Universal Design Associates agreement for the second round of Community Crossings grant applications that says the town will pay the company $10,500 in planning and application fees.

• Approved an ordinance establishing the American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 local fiscal recovery fund.

• Appointed Town Manager Chris James to be the town’s primary reporter of cyber security incidents as required by the state.

• Approved that the yard waste site will now be open on Sundays. Official hours are to be determined by the police department.

• Approved an ordinance amending the salary of a wastewater apprentice.

• Announced that all town meetings will be at the Town Hall again beginning in August.




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