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This article was published 27/11/2009 (3607 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
CITY officials shut down a Winnipeg hotel on Friday after it failed to fix major fire-code violations on time.
The Howard Johnson on Ellice Avenue was forced to close its doors and vacate all guests at 1 p.m. Friday after its sprinklers and fire-alarm system did not meet city regulations.
Reid Douglas, the deputy chief of support services at the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, said the hotel made an attempt to fix the critical problems, but still did not meet basic standards by the deadline.
He said city inspectors have been at the hotel on a regular basis over the last year and the situation continued to deteriorate until it wasn't safe for people to be inside.
The 19 violations included fire-safety problems that could lead to a deadly blaze. The hotel's fire alarm system was inoperable, sprinklers didn't work, emergency exit signs didn't illuminate, fire extinguishers were missing and fire doors wouldn't open.
Douglas said most businesses and individuals don't have a problem complying with basic safety standards and the hotel could reopen if it fixes the deficiencies.
"Inspectors have been there on a regular basis over the last year," Douglas said. "(The problems) continued to deteriorate."
About 50 guests needed to relocate from the hotel and provincial social workers were sent to knock on doors to ensure everyone had a place to stay.
Glen Cassie, spokesman for Manitoba Family Services and Housing, said most guests were able to find accommodation with a friend or relative. Only six people requested help from social workers and by late Friday, Cassie said everyone had a place to sleep.
Many people who frequent the hotel for extended periods are in Winnipeg for medical appointments.
Although some of the guests fall under the responsibility of the federal government, Cassie said the province stepped in to make sure no one was left on the street to fend for themselves. Provincial social workers found alternate hotels and places to stay for the half-dozen people with nowhere to go.
"We've found places for everybody," Cassie said late Friday. "They know where they're going for tonight and the weekend."
The hotel's owner could not be reached for comment Friday and Howard Johnson's website still showcased the property although it did not appear to available for bookings.