A town official says he expects every problem, from major to minor, to be fixed before the Board of Health Commissioners will allow the Holiday Inn to open again.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s 100%, quite literally,” said Joshua Terenzini, chairman of the Rutland Town Select Board, members of which also serve on the Board of Health Commissioners. “That’s my opinion as one board member. We take it very seriously when a handful of our firefighters almost get blown up by a gas leak that was ignored to say the least.”
On Sept. 30 at approximately 9 p.m. a guest at the Holiday Inn called 911 to report a smell of propane. According to the town fire department, one of the hotel’s boilers, where the odor was coming from, exploded shortly after their arrival. Firefighters had the blaze under control in short order, limiting damage to the boiler room an adjacent room. No injuries were reported. The following day, the Board of Health Commissioners voted to shut the hotel down, citing a lack of hot water.
The hotel’s owners told the Herald last week they hoped to have the hotel opened within another day or two, but it remains closed.
“The state inspectors are coming today to do the inspection,” said Anil Sachdev, a co-owner and co-manager of the Holiday Inn off South Main Street, on Wednesday. “The town comes next. We have to send the report to the town, which will be all the inspections and everything which have been happening for the past two or three days.”
The Vermont Department of Public Safety Division of Fire Safety has been to the inn at least twice since Oct. 4, according to records provided to the Herald by Town Health Office John Paul Faignant on Wednesday.
According to a report dated Oct. 4, Assistant State Fire Marshal Patrick Banks went to the inn on that day and conducted an inspection. He wrote that for the Division of Fire Safety to allow full or partial occupancy of the hotel, hot water would need to be restored to the areas in which the inn means to have guests. It requires everything in the hotel that uses gas to be inspected by a certified technician, the boiler must also be inspected, and smoke alarms in four rooms need to be brought into compliance with regulations.
The Oct. 4 document gave the inn 30 days to fix several fire exit doors that weren’t latching properly, to replace the sheetrock ceiling in the kitchen boiler room with a ceiling made from 5/8--inch type C gypsum board, and to fill the hole in the boiler room. It also calls for a leak in the hallway on the second floor of the south wing to be fixed, and to address issues with the fire alarm system. An Oct. 7 follow-up inspection lists another 20 or so items, most requiring boilers and other equipment to be fired and tested.
“We’ve been working 24/7 for the last seven days, some days we had more than 50 people working,” Sachdev said. “I think most of the stuff has been done. On a few items, the parts have been ordered — we’re waiting for them to come.”
He said two of the inn’s four boilers have been replaced and were tested Wednesday.
Gerald “GJ” Garrow, regional manager of the Division of Fire Safety’s Rutland office, said Wednesday it’ll ultimately be up to the town whether the hotel is allowed to reopen. His office will supply the town with a report identifying and major or minor issues left outstanding.
“There must be full completion of all life safety issues before the Town can allow any re-occupancy,” said Faignant in a Wednesday email.