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Closed businesses addressing violations

Closed businesses addressing violations

June 29th, 2013 in News

Editor's note: This version updates the initial story posted Friday.

Two Jefferson City businesses were closed Friday for building and fire code violations.

City officials said America's Best Value Inn (formerly Motel 6), 1624 Jefferson St., and a multi-business building at 2425 Industrial Drive, which housed Club Motivation, were inspected Thursday.

"The violations that were found won't take a couple of days to fix," said Jefferson City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus. "They will require major work to repair them."

At America's Best Value, the building was being inspected as part of a routine licensing inspection.

Jefferson City fire inspectors, working with state and county licensing officials as well as city building inspectors, found numerous life and safety violations including a non-functioning fire alarm system; debris and combustible materials improperly stored; and hotel rooms being used as residences.

"One of the big problems was holes found punched through fire walls," Nickolaus said. "If there were a fire, it could spread more quickly because those walls were damaged."

The property owner, Bill Patel, was provided a list of the violations and the steps needed to correct them.

Only the owner and those employed by him will be allowed in the building for the purpose of completing the repairs.

Nickolaus said Patel has begun those repairs and is cooperating with city officials to make sure things are done right.

The inspection of the Club Motivation building on Industrial Drive was prompted by a complaint by a tenant living in the building.

City building code officials and city fire inspectors determined the basement of the building had been illegally converted for residential use.

Numerous electrical and plumbing violations were found in the basement, and these violations continued into the main floor of the building.

"They found that residents had used electrical extension cords in lieu of wiring and had those wired into the main junction box to get power," Nickolaus said.

An inspection of the entire building was conducted and found other violations such as sewer gas entering the building and a lack of proper fire exits.

"There were small children living there, and protecting lives and property is our number one concern," Nickolaus said. "The residents were out as of Thursday, but we don't know where they went to."

The property owner, Norris Feely of Lake Ozark, was provided a list of the violations and the steps required for correction. City officials said Feely has begun those repairs and was cooperating.

Efforts to contact Patel and Feely were unsuccessful.

Nickolaus said it was impossible to know how soon these businesses could reopen.

"We waited until we had a warrant and could marshal our resources," he said. "It's a big deal to put together in one spot, but this is not the first time we've done something like this. We did a similar operations a couple of times at the old Mulberry Street apartments in the past.

"We have annual fire inspections and generally checking the basic things is adequate, but when you see multiple violations during the general check you've got to get more people involved."