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Three fire code violations found in former PNC Bank building

November 11, 2012|By ARNOLD S. PLATOU | arnoldp@herald-mail.com

Three fire code violations involving fire-rated doors were found this week in Washington County government’s largely empty office building in downtown Hagerstown.

In a written notice of inspection Wednesday to the county’s Division of Public Works, city Fire Marshal Douglas DeHaven said the inspection was limited to areas used by tenants on the first and third floors of the 128 W. Washington St. building. The address for the entire structure is 120-128 W. Washington St.

Joe Kroboth, director of public works, said Friday that all of the violations either have been corrected or action has been taken that should correct the situation soon.

Listed as violations of the city fire prevention code are:

• Fire-rated door at the first-floor front stairwell would not close by itself, as is required.

• Fire-rated doors at the third-floor front stairwell and third-floor front lobby “are damaged and would not self close.”

• A fire-rated door, which is required along the first-floor corridor, has been removed.

Kroboth said the problem with the door at the first-floor front stairwell was that “when you let go of it, the carpet was catching it. So our facility guys are going to shave off part of the bottom of the door to give it more clearance.”

As to the damaged doors on the third floor, Kroboth said he received a memo from one of his employees indicating that either a new automatic closing unit, a part of the current closer “or a whole new door” has been ordered.

And the door that was missing on the first floor was found in a closet and rehung on the door frame hinges, Kroboth said.

The door has been missing for at least a few years, he said.

“I’m just surmising that maybe when the previous owner was doing renovations, they took it off,” Kroboth said.

In the notice, DeHaven told the county it must correct the violations or provide a written plan of action “for approval by this office” within 14 days.

The county purchased the building in 2008, intending to move some employees there within six months. Its plans have been stalled by the recession, which cut funding, and other reasons including uncertainty over whether a stadium will be built downtown, closing another county office building nearby.

The West Washington Street building has three tenants. A law firm is on part of the first floor, and another law firm and an accounting firm are on the third floor.

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