Tuesday, Aug. 18-OC Hotel Fined $10K For Violating Law

OCEAN CITY – The resort hotel that had to be evacuated last week as a result of a carbon monoxide leak was fined by the Town of Ocean City $10,000 for not having detectors on site as mandated by city law.

The Americana Hotel was closed to the public last Tuesday after visitors in 91 of the 94 oceanfront hotel rooms had to be evacuated after a carbon monoxide leak was found. Some people in the hotel had to be physically escorted and showed obvious signs of carbon monoxide exposure, according to witnesses.

Along with the fine, imposed by the Fire Marshal Division of the Ocean City Fire Department, the hotel will remain closed to the public until all carbon monoxide producing equipment can be certified safe and installed properly by an independent inspection agency. A complete life safety inspection has also been conducted of the entire Americana Hotel, according a press release issued by the Fire Marshal Division.

”The Fire Marshal Division of the Ocean City Fire Department Is reaching out to our citizens and property owners, to once again inform them of the requirements regarding carbon monoxide detectors,” the press release said. “The Town of Ocean City and the Ocean City Fire Department urge all citizens and property owners to become familiar and comply with the requirements of the Carbon Monoxide Ordinances, and the dangers of carbon monoxide by visiting our website at http://www.town.ocean-city.md.us/firem/ or call the Fire Marshal Division at 410-289-8780.”

Last week’s incident at the Americana Hotel was preceded by a similar violation at the El Capitan condominium. The El Capitan was subsequently fined $2,000. A complete life safety inspection was conducted soon after.

As a result of two people dying in 2006 from carbon monoxide exposure in an Ocean City hotel, the Mayor and City Council passed an ordinance requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all new single-family and multi-family dwellings and all existing single family dwellings. Multi-family dwellings were given a 24-month compliance period, which ended in February of 2009.

As a representative measure of compliance, the Fire Marshal Division is physically inspecting a three to five city block area for carbon monoxide detector requirement compliance. Based upon these results, an evaluation will be conducted to determine the need for further enforcement strategies. Buildings found in violation of the ordinances are subject to a $1,000 citation for each violation.

For the entire story and all the week’s news, see The Dispatch on Friday morning.