Fire marshal evaluates Monitor School

Published 9:59 am Friday, June 18, 2010

The Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal has investigated a complaint filed about an abandoned building in Coal Grove.

The complaint, filed June 4 by Bill Bryant of 805 High St., concerns the old Monitor School on Memorial and High streets. The complaint states that children have been playing in the structure. It also says that the building is falling down and that its eaves have fallen.

Tom Brammer owns the 11,000 square-foot building built in 1905.

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Brammer purchased the building at a courthouse auction in 2002.

An official from the Division of Fire Marshal’s code enforcement department evaluated the school June 7. Brammer gave the official access to the building.

Shane Cartmill, public information officer for the fire marshal’s office, said Brammer has been asked to board up the building’s windows and secure the doors. He has also been asked to remove weeds from the property.

“This is a fire safety issue not only for people that might break in but for the firefighters who might respond,” Cartmill said.

While the SFM can enforce having the building secured and vegetation removed for the safety of first responders, it would not oversee having the building demolished or condemned.

The office plans to return to the structure 15 days from the previous visit. If the owner does not comply with orders, the penalty is up to $1,000 per day per violation, if the citation is upheld during an administrative hearing with the Board of Building Standards.

“Our hope is that the owner will comply with the Ohio fire code and the situation can be resolved without having to take such measures,” Cartmill said.

A call to Brammer was not immediately returned, but Coal Grove Village clerk-treasurer Debbie Fields said she saw him working to fix the problems.

At a meeting Tuesday evening, the Coal Grove Village Council members discussed the possibility of writing a letter to Brammer asking what his intentions are with the building.

They also discussed possibly acquiring the property one day, tearing it down and using the land for a park or an open field.

Bryant denied filing the complaint and hung up on the reporter who called him.