Questions Still Surround Orlando Condominium Fire Inspection


Article Courtesy of WFTV.COM Channel 9

Posted July 18, 2005


Channel 9 is asking hard questions about who inspected some Orlando condominiums and if the companies were licensed to complete the fire inspection.


Monday afternoon, the city gave Channel 9 a third name for the company that installed a fire water main at The Grande Condominiums in downtown Orlando. That comes on the heels of a Channel 9 inquiry into another company the city named on Friday.


The company the city claims inspected underground fire lines at The Grande Condominiums didn't want to talk to Channel 9. City officials claimed on Friday that CDS Sitework and Trucking installed and inspected the underground fire sprinkler feed to hundreds of units at The Grande. Channel 9 found out that CDS is not licensed to do fire inspection work.


Attorney Carol Swanson is suing the city on behalf of a terminated fire inspector who claims she blew the whistle on allegedly bogus inspection records.


"People signed off on the fire inspections who had nothing to do with the city, they had no authority under the city to do fire inspections," Swanson explained.


Monday, after Channel 9 confronted CDS, the city came up with a third company, Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, and new documents. The city said it proves, once and for all, that the complex passed inspections.


But Channel 9 called the third company and they said they only installed and tested a 30-foot connection to the aboveground fire sprinklers. So the question remains, who, if anyone, did inspect the underground lines?


Meanwhile, condo owners are caught in the middle. Several realtors said the $200,000-plus condos could take a hit in the market place if the city can't prove the entire fire suppression system was properly tested.


The revelation may also lead to insurance problems for condo owners, if and when their insurers find out that the sprinkler mains may be compromised.


The city maintains that the work was done properly and inspected, and that nothing is more important than public safety. The city insists that CDS did not need a fire license to do the work in question. The Fire Marshal's Office has re-opened an investigation into this project.

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