News and Tribune

January 15, 2014

Freezing temperatures shut down sprinklers at Clark’s Landing in Clarksville

Fire marshal: Property owners didn’t report problem, tenant did

By MATT KOESTERS
shea.vanhoy@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE — The managing partner of the company that owns Clark’s Landing says the development’s fire suppression system is now working, but Clarksville’s fire marshal said he isn’t sure how long it was down and had to learn about its failure from the property’s tenant.

When contacted for comment, Dr. Jay Sheth, managing partner of the Boston Development Group, which owns the former Colgate property, said the fire suppression system was successfully re-pressurized on Wednesday afternoon. But Sheth said he was in a meeting and asked to be called back. When contacted at the time Sheth asked, he did not answer and did not return a call asking for further comment.

An employee of Carton Craft contacted the Clarksville Fire Department about the lack of fire protection on Friday, said Brent Wilson, Clarksville fire marshal.

“In Indiana fire code, there are some lines that explicitly state that whenever a required life-safety system is not operable or does go down ... that we are to be contacted,” Wilson said. “We did not receive any communication from any representation from Clark’s Landing to notify us that that system was down.”

Wilson said that if the fire suppression system was inoperable, the buildings would have to be vacated or a “fire watch” would have to be put in place while the buildings were occupied. A fire watch must have a firefighter certification, said Clarksville Fire Chief Tom Upton.

Wilson said he wasn’t sure when the system first went down, but said the property manager indicated it had been caused by the sub-zero temperatures that affected the region early last week.

“It was somewhat implied by the property manager that ... that’s when most of the damage had occurred to the system,” Wilson said.

Wilson said he was unsure if fines would be assessed to BDG for failing to report the failure of the system to the town.