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City does not have “standard regimen” for building inspections

Royal Inn is empty and the second and-third floor doors have tape around them, but not the first-floor doors.

An outside engineer said the first-floor was still eligible for use, but the city did not agree, forcing the motel to close its doors.

Dan R. Mills, a state registered professional engineer, sent a letter to Royal Inn Management Oct. 17, which said in part, “the firm has determined that rooms 110…thru 124…are safe for public occupancy pending approval by the Columbia Building Department.”

City of Columbia Building Regulations Supervisor John Simon sent a letter to management the Oct. 18, which said the city “suspended the certificate of occupancy for the building.”

The city deemed the entire building was not safe for anyone to stay in.

The letter also said failure to remove any remaining occupants would result in “possible legal action.”

ABC 17’s Zara Barker went to the Building Construction Codes Commission meeting Monday afternoon to talk with John Simon, but he declined an on-camera interview.

When asked, Simon said the city does not have a “standard regimen” for building inspections, and inspections are only “complaint driven” or done on new construction.

Simon said the Columbia Fire Department completes yearly inspections. But, Columbia Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Brad Frazier said in an email Monday, the fire department inspects buildings for “fire code compliance.”

The city’s website says fire inspections include the following:

Fire/smoke alarm and detection system Fire protection system (sprinklers) Fire apparatus access route Fire pump Fire command center Hood suppression

The inspection list does not mention walkways or building regulations that do not involve fire hazards.

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