JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) A hotel owner has agreed to voluntarily close after two fires at the facility, and findings of unpermitted work that has increased the chance of fire rapidly spreading.
The State of North Carolina, in association with the City of Jacksonville, has been involved in Nuisance Abatement action with the owners of the Red Carpet Inn.
Safety at the facility in the time since a September Court Order requiring repairs has decreased, causing heightened concerns for the safety of patrons at the facility.
Patrons have been staying at the hotel while repairs are made to abate the nuisance.
A second fire at the facility this past weekend heightened concerns for the safety of patrons at the facility and the owner has agreed to voluntarily close the facility.
The owners voluntarily signed a Consent Judgement issued by Superior Court Judge J. S. Carmichael on September 24.
One of the court-mandated actions was to end all criminal activity at the facility.
Another requirement of the order was an inspection of the facility by the City Fire Marshal and the City Building Inspector.
Unpermitted electrical work was found at the facility and in discussion with the Court and attorneys, the owner voluntarily agreed to close the facility and move all the patrons out.
The manager of the facility, estimates there are about twenty to thirty people who have been living at the facility while the repairs were being made.
The City’s Fire Marshal and Chief Building Inspector found that significant breaches had been made between the floors and between the rooms leaving space for the fire to rapidly spread throughout the facility.
The Fire Marshal and Chief Building Inspector then determined that further occupancy would be dangerous as life-safety provisions are not in place.
The City’s Community Policing Unit and Community Engagement Department are working with the owner to find options for housing for the residents, some of whom were employees of the hotel.
The following is a timeline of activities that resulted in the mutual decision for closure.
- An inspection by the City was conducted on October 25 but could not be completed because of the limitations of the business owners. On this date, a request was made to finish the inspection on October 28. The owner failed to meet this inspection deadline and have the needed parties on-site to conduct it.
- The business owners received a follow-up letter from the City Fire Marshal requesting a time to complete the inspection within 10 calendar days of the letter. During these 10 days, on November 16 a fire occurred at the Red Carpet Inn. It was determined that the cause of the fire was due to contractors working on the required renovations. Fortunately, that fire resulted in minimal damage. This is the second fire call to the location in 2019. On January 18 there was a fire on the fourth floor of the hotel that resulted in severe water damage to the floor below. This confirmed the urgency for the inspection.
- A deadline for inspection was provided to the owner for the inspection of November 25. The owner complied with an inspection between building and fire officials that occurred on Thursday.
- After the inspection by the City Fire Marshal and City Building Inspector on Thursday the building owner and a contractor, along with the City’s Inspectors, determined that the necessary repairs could not be made in a timely manner and that the business would be closed until the repairs could be made.
All parties worked together to address the issues as the property owners attempted to meet the requirements of the judgment agreement.
“Concerns about the safety and security of those working and patronizing the Red Carpet Inn, as well as those living in the neighboring area, are the basis of the nuisance abatement actions, inspections and ultimately, the closure of the business,” said Chief Mike Yaniero, Director of Public Safety.