The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has successfully concluded the criminal prosecution of the owner of a commercial office building, located at 2105 Colorado Blvd., for fire and building code violations.
The owner was charged with rendering fire protection equipment inoperable (such as fire sprinklers and fire alarms) and engaging in significant construction work without permit.
The City of Santa Monica’s Building Official, Ron Takiguchi, and Fire Marshal Eric Binder jointly referred the case to the City Attorney’s Office after a routine fire inspection revealed that the fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems had been compromised or disabled throughout the building and substantial construction had occurred without any permits. The Fire Marshal and Building Official concluded that these conditions seriously jeopardized the life and safety of the building’s many occupants and the City’s firefighters.
On March 9, 2015, the owner pleaded “no contest” in the criminal case. He was placed on 12 months of probation and ordered to perform 30 days of court approved community service, pay $10,000 in restitution to the City to cover City investigative costs, pay an additional $10,000 to the Building and Safety and Fire Prevention Training Fund to train and educate California Fire and Building & Safety personnel, pay hundreds more in mandatory court fines, costs and fees, comply with all other applicable laws and permit conditions.
“This is a positive and fair result,” Takiguchi said. “All businesses, including commercial property owners, must operate within state and local building and fire protection laws. These laws exist to protect the life and safety of the building occupants and first responders. Disregard of such laws puts every occupant of the building at serious risk.”
Binder said fire protection equipment, especially in multi-tenant buildings such as 2105 Colorado Blvd., is critical to timely evacuation of building occupants and to the Fire Department’s ability to timely suppress urban fires.
“Time is truly of the utmost essence in fire suppression,” he said. “A disabled fire alarm means that occupants and fire fighters would not be promptly notified of an ongoing fire in the building. A disabled or malfunctioning sprinkler system cause fires to spread within a building, unchecked, and could place fire fighters and occupants at great jeopardy. The owner has now committed to prompt and strict compliance with all applicable building and fire protection laws. We are very happy with this commitment and we look forward to working with the owner, and any other business that needs our assistance, to ensure that they can operate successfully in Santa Monica and within the bounds of the law.”
Anyone in the City that notices any disabled or defective fire protection equipment should immediately contact the Fire Department at (310) 458-8915.