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Juneau hotel condemned after numerous safety hazards discovered, left unrepaired

By KTVA CBS 11 News 7:48 PM March 10, 2017

A Juneau hotel was shut down Friday and condemned by city officials, who have classified it as “unsafe for human occupancy.”

According to city spokeswoman Lisa Phu, the Bergmann Hotel had been inspected multiple times since the fall of 2016. Among the issues at the multi-residence building were “an inoperable sprinkler system, a gaping hole in the roof, lack of heat and hot water, inadequate restrooms, exposed wiring, broken windows and unsuitable emergency exit doors.”

“During Friday’s inspection, it was additionally determined that carbon monoxide levels were above acceptable safety limits,” Phu added in a statement sent out Friday.

In October, city inspectors notified Kathleen Barrett, the building’s owner, and Charles Cotten, its manager, about the health and safety hazards, but during walk-throughs of the building afterwards found “few corrections and several new violations,” according to Phu.

Phu said the decision to condemn the building was made for the sake of the building’s tenants, who Phu said Barrett was putting in “imminent danger” by not correcting the problems.

“There is so much damage and neglect. It’s a huge risk for the tenants in terms of fire and life safety issues; not just for them but for anyone who goes inside,” Sven Pearson, a Capital City Fire/Rescue deputy fire marshal, said in Phu’s statement. “People shouldn’t have to live this way. It’s unsanitary. It’s dangerous. People deserve to live better.”

A notice to vacate the building within 24 hours was posted on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m., according to Phu.

“When the hazards on the property are so extreme that it represents an imminent danger to health and safety, we have the authority under Title 19 to require the building be evacuated,” said city attorney Amy Mead.

Phu said city officials were working with several agencies to assist the displaced Bergmann Hotel tenants, including the Salvation Army, which is piloting a low-barrier warming center.

“The pilot program will serve displaced Bergmann tenants in need, and the general public as space allows,” Phu explained, adding that other local shelters were also aware of the situation and would provide temporary shelter for those in need.

“We don’t want community members sleeping outside and cold. We want them to be warm and cared for,” Salvation Army Lt. Dana Walters said in a separate statement. “A warming center is in line with other services we provide through our social services office.”

Barrett and Cotten have 20 days to appeal the condemnation, according to Phu.

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