Records show hotel had fire code violations before deadly blaze

May 31, 2013 4:21:17 PM PDT
While we don't know what caused the five-alarm fire that killed four firefighters on Friday, we do know the southwest Houston has a history with fire inspectors.

We've been pouring over public records to try and learn as much as we can about the location where this tragic fire took place. And it's had its share of problems.

The fire reportedly started in the hotel's restaurant, which had been recently inspected by the health department.

Records show back in March of this year, an inspector found that a grease trap had not been cleaned a minimum of every 90 days, as required. And in January, there was another problem with the grease traps when inspectors reminded them they must empty them every 90 days.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the majority of restaurant fires originate on kitchen cooking appliances and flare into the kitchen exhaust system.

As far as the hotel itself, it was cited by the fire department just this past February for several fire code violations, according to the city's inspection database.

Fire inspectors noted the fire alarm system needs to be serviced. Also, the hotel's last recorded gas leak test was conducted in 2005. That's a violation because they are required every five years.

Finally, the inspector wrote "make sure all rooms have working smoke alarms". They even put down Room 276, which apparently did not have a working alarm.

The hotel has also been the scene of a lot of calls to police. Houston Police Department records show there have been 53 crimes reported at that hotel from January 2012 through March of 2013. These crimes include robberies, assaults, drugs and prostitution.

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