LETTER: Building owner weighs in on Latimer St. fire

From reader Donald Whitaker

Re: Fire causes upwards of $60K in damage to Nelson Brewing Co. building

As one of the building owners involved in this “Latimer Street blaze,” I feel that the people who read your newspaper need to be made aware of the facts. Nelson Fire Services, the City of Nelson Building Department and our company have been working together on a fire order that was dated March 26, 2018. Within this fire order we are all in agreement that there will be the installation of a new fire alarm system and an upgrade to the entire building to increase life safety standards. So the motion of these changes were long in place before the “blaze.”

The small fire that occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 18 was started by equipment owned by a tenant. The existing fire suppression system doused all flames and the fire department did show up and with the combination of the two, our building did not come anywhere near to burning to the ground. In fact, after three long days of waiting to be allowed back into the affected suite due to fire and insurance investigation, one of the tenants is already resuming a kitchen installation job that is now days overdue.

To date our building has complied with all direction from our local fire department. The costs of such upgrades to a building owner and the taxes we pay on this building are so high, that at times I have wondered if any of it makes any business sense, as it eats into the ability to turn a profit.

I strive to provide a safe and affordable building for myself and my tenants to make their incomes and live a simple and enjoyable life. Articles like this are disheartening as the facts are not correct and out of proportion. My insurance adjuster agreed that she had no idea where “$40,000 to $60,000 in damage to Nelson Brewing Company building” came from. If you care to quote real numbers, start with the $20,000 we have spent on engineers, consultants and building permit since the fire order was invoked and the $100,000 to $200,000 we will have to spend implementing the work that has already started.

Donald Whitaker

Nelson

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