Cumberland Times-News

October 2, 2013

Displaced residents’ relocation a success

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— FROSTBURG — A majority of the 19 residents who were displaced from Diamond apartments Monday, 16 of them, have found alternative housing on their own and three residents were relocated with the assistance of the Allegany County Department of Social Services, according to Oliver Alkire, senior deputy state fire marshal, assistant public information officer.

“It is not known where the three people were relocated to,” said Alkire.

 The Office of the State Fire Marshal issued an order for the 19 residents to vacate the Diamond apartments, which are located above Acropolis Restaurant and Diamond Lounge on East Main Street, because of alleged serious violations of the State Fire Prevention Code at all three locations. 

There haven’t been any previous serious violations at any of the locations although there have been some minor violations. There are no inspections on file for the Acropolis, according to Alkire. In February 2011, there was an anonymous complaint about a flue at the Diamond Lounge and it was fixed, and there have been no inspections on the apartments until now.

Deputy state fire marshals along with the regional fire protection engineer discovered serious code violations during a joint inspection with Mark Monnett, Frostburg code enforcement, on Thursday.

Thursday’s violations included, but are not limited to, a noncompliant and antiquated fire alarm system, padlocked doors, no approved means of egress from the third floor, blocked exits in the nightclub, lack of the restaurant commercial cooking equipment meeting current standards and a piece of lumber used as a locking mechanism on the restaurant’s rear door.  

Owner Bill Diamond declined to comment on what he is doing to fix the violations and when the work would be completed. Diamond has not submitted any plans, and if he does submit them the State Fire Marshal’s office is willing to work with him on fixing the violations, according to Alkire.

The order remains in effect until the building meets the requirements of the State Fire Prevention Code. Once the violations are fixed, another inspection will occur and the business could be up and operating within a few hours, according to Alkire.  

While the bar will be closed indefinitely, the restaurant remains open with seating limited to 49 patrons. The restaurant was able to remain open with limited seating because one of the issues with the exits was temporarily fixed, according to Alkire. If there are more than 50 patrons in the restaurant, there need to be two exits, according to the the State Fire Prevention Code.

 The Allegany County Department of Social Services could not be reached for comment.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.