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Okay, here is the situation: There is an old metal building in our jurisdiction that is for sale. The occupant went out of business and it has been on the market for about a year empty. It is per the 2003 IBC an S-2 occupancy with some offices in the front (side A). Recently a cage fighting outfit has occupied it and had one event without the fire departments knowledge. The fire area being used for the event is 10,000 square feet and is not sprinklered. The building was originally built in 1982 and was used by a construction company.

The new occupant has a scheduled event in four days with sponsorship money already paid. The fire department does an occupancy inspection and finds that the building is now an A-3 occupancy and must be sprinklered and per local ordinance must have a monitored alarm system installed. A static water supply must be installed per local code since no public water supply is available, egress width is lacking and requires a min. of 180" of egress width, to separate the B from the A-3, a two hour fire barrier is required. There have been rumors that the new occupant wants to use indoor pyrotechnics for the show.

What do you do? Good luck.

Oh, the new occupant now wants a conditional permit to only allow 300 occupants for the event.

Now, what to do?

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Look at the history of the deadliest fires in the United States. I am sure your District does not want to be known in History for having those types of fires. It is the Fire Departments responsibility to keep those that live or visit their District safe. Please remember if something does happen not only could you lose sullivans you could lose firefighters as well. Just like it is your fire house it is also your district do what is right for your district. My Chief always tells me; "What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong". Good luck! Please let me know what happens, my email is

Your friend,
Todd McKee
Stick to your guns and the Code. Like Todd said, you don't want to be on the front page of the newspaper for something that went wrong and that you (the Dept) could have prevented. Good luck and Stay Strong--Don't give in to politics or money. Let us know what happens.
Thanks for the posts. I have already addressed the issue here. I thought it would be a great discussion point because I know that this type of situation happens everywhere. Once the situation is a little more calmed down, I will let you all what the final outcome is and what happens.
I'll tell you what we DID......we had a nice 20,000 sq ft former machine shop now filled with furniture...and I mean FULL. The Chief and myself, the only career members in a small combo department, did a walk-thru of the facility. The existing sprinkler system, which had been taken out of service sometime in the 80's, was recommended to be put back in service. Needless to say, approximately one year breaks out. Today, a lush, 20,000 sq ft grassy area is all that remains. Stick to your guns inspectors....if you don't, no one else will.
Apply the law! Period. The Romans had a saying: DVRA LEX, SED LEX! Which is Latin for, A Tough Law, but the LAW!

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