Lowcountry fire departments find thousands of violations over 3 month span

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - State fire marshal reports show Lowcountry fire departments have found thousands of fire violations over the course of a few months.

The violations are found by fire departments during an inspection.

The inspections can be routine, while they’re checking new alarm systems or if the fire marshals are inspecting new construction.

“Staff will go out and inspect those systems and try to ensure they meet minimum code compliance, and if they find there is a deficiency that does not read the minimum adopted code then we will note it as a violation,” said Mike Julazadeh, the Charleston Fire Department’s chief fire marshal.

Julazadeh said they try to do routine inspections in high risk buildings.

“We do try to frequent the restaurants, bars and night clubs, the motels and facilities that we think could be a higher risk to either the citizens or the firefighters,” Julazadeh said. “Because one of our primary objectives here is to look as firefighters. If we can prevent the event from ever occurring, we’re going to help promote safety.”

The Charleston Fire Department found over two thousand violations in a three-month period, but a fraction of those haven’t been corrected.

Julazadeh said it’s up to the building owners to rectify the issue.

The department gives them a set time to fix the issue and will then circle back to make sure it has been corrected.

“It’s actually the owner’s responsibility to maintain code compliance and it’s their responsibility to understand any needed issues in terms of maintaining compliance,” Julazadeh said. “Our objective is to educate them and help them understand what they need to do to maintain compliance which maintain safety and helps ensure business continuity, so they don’t have interruption with a fire or emergency event.”

The violations range from a door being stuck on lock, an exit path being blocked, emergency lights not working, or a sprinkler system not working properly.

Julazadeh said with the high number violations recorded it shows the department is being proactive.

“We don’t want to wait until after an event occurs and then identify that a sprinkler system or a fire alarm system failed in part because it wasn’t maintained properly,” he said.

You can check your fire department’s violation count here.

If you notice something that seems like a fire hazard, contact your local fire department.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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