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Feb 27, 2003

Guerrero: board will toughen fire inspections

While speaking to Reynaldo Guerrero about election day, we also asked him to comment on a story we ran earlier this week in the wake of the deadly club fires in Chicago and Rhode Island. Echoing the words of Fire Chief Henry Baizar, he emphasized that something will be done soon about fire safety in the nation’s dancehalls.

Reynaldo Guerrero

“In fact, it has struck me very strongly and I was hoping that immediately after elections…and I am saying this because if there will be any changes then our position will basically change. But I thought that immediately after elections we would enlist the support of the Fire Department. However, let me say something that while they do not have the power to close, they have the power to advise and if they would advise us of any establishment that is in contravention based upon their Fire Safety Act, then we would definitely act on it. Because I saw the story too and I thought the same thing, because I figure that we are at risk at a number of establishments and that immediately after elections the opportunity would now exist for us to dialogue directly with him to ensure that it doesn’t happen in any situation here, or at least to create an environment where the next three to six months we set a very clear criteria under which these licenses will be issued. And there are a number of them that may need to do a couple of things, those that are one the second or third storey for example, and even those on the first story in terms of exit capability that people would have. But definitely, it’s one area that we want to address.”

Guerrero says when someone applies for a liquor license, they do conduct a physical check of the establishment, but admits the inspection does not focus on fire safety. He repeats that they plan to rectify this shortcoming in the near future.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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