Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

October 7, 2013

Part of blame lies with those responsible for inspections

I have known the owner, Bill Diamond, since his college days, in the late-1970s, and “Diamond’s” has been iconic in Frostburg since the 1960s.

Bill’s father insisted on him paying his own way through college, at the family business and working cat-eye at Sacred Heart Hospital (where I met him).

If there are any “alleged serious violations of the State Fire Prevention Code,” the same article (Diamond’s Lounge, 19 apartments ordered closed,” Sept. 29 Times-News, Page 1A) states, “There are no inspections on file for the Acropolis (Restaurant)” and “there have been no inspections on the apartments until now.” After 40-plus years, whose fault is that?

Yes, I also remember 200-300 young people in the lounge and only two exits: the narrow alley entrance and the stairway, up through the restaurant, to Main Street (a real potential disaster).

With NO apologies to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, for their neglect over the years, I do trust Bill Diamond will bring his business and properties up to 2013 State Fire Prevention Code standards.

It also is understandable how his personal vigilance, about this, may have slipped over the years.

I am sorry for those displaced, but please do not lay ‘all of the blame’ on Bill Diamond (there is plenty to share with the local and State Fire Marshal’s Office neglect over these many years).

I do not mean to excuse Mr. Diamond, but he’s busy balancing his books and operating a relatively small-scale, family business, which employs a number of people (what happens to THEM during the shut down?).

Owners and taxpayers hire government workers (health, safety, etc., at good salaries) to regularly inspect establishments/rentals, which people patronize, and to keep good records of violations, consequences, and corrections.  

Obviously, a number of people dropped the ball here.

Steve Herbaugh

Ridgeley, W.Va.

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