Code violations at East District Roll Call site put Metro police at risk

Officials review contractor's plans months late

INDIANAPOLIS - Fire and building code violations are putting Metro police employees at risk and raising questions about government oversight at the renovation of the IMPD East District Roll Call facility.

The fire sprinkler system installed at East District Roll Call was never approved, and so far, it has failed to work, but Metro police and civilian employees were moved into the building anyway nine months ago.

A firefighter remains on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because the fire sprinkler system in the building will not send an alarm to an outside security company or fire dispatch.

According to city codes, the contractor is required to submit a plan before construction begins and the building is occupied.

"In most cases our plan review, they do review them. But for whatever reason, I don't think our plan reviewer had a chance to see these plans. I'm not sure (why not)," said Indianapolis Fire Department Fire Marshal Fred Pervine.

Tuesday afternoon, the building contractor was summoned to a meeting with fire and code enforcement officials for a review of code violations. City officials admitted that they hadn't seen the contractor's plan until Tuesday.

"All I know is that I saw the plan today," said Al Ensley, with the Department of Code Enforcement. "I saw the plans that were submitted today."

Fire and code enforcement will review the fire suppression plans to see if the design fits the building then they will test the system to determine if the sprinklers provide an effective level of protection.

"The last thing we want to do, for the most part, is evacuate the building, because now we're forced to relocate all the East District and all that," Pervine said. "So that would be a safety issue that we've got to deal with."

For now, the building contractor is paying the $35-per-hour cost of having a firefighter keep watch on the building.

In January, the taxpayers will begin paying rent of $87,000 a month for the next 25 years.

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