A 104-year-old hotel in Alaska’s capital city has been evacuated and its manager arrested after the alleged failure to address numerous building-code and fire-safety violations at the historic property, according to authorities.
Listed among the problems at The Bergmann Hotel in Juneau were: an inoperable sprinkler system, a hole in the roof, lack of heat and hot water, exposed wiring, broken windows and inadequate restrooms, City and Borough of Juneau officials announced in press release.
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The Bergmann, which opened in 1913 and catered to local miners, was listed on National Register of Historic Places. The Juneau hotel has long been used as tenement housing. It was recently evacuated due to health and safety violations and neglect, officials say.
Also, on Friday (March 10), code officials determined that carbon monoxide levels were above acceptable safety limits.
Such conditions put tenants in imminent danger, officials said. Therefore, the structure was classified as unsafe for human occupancy.
“There is so much damage and neglect,” said Capital City Fire/Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Sven Pearson. “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.
“People shouldn’t have to live this way. It’s unsanitary. It’s dangerous. People deserve to live better.”
The Bergmann, which opened in 1913 and catered to local miners, was listed on National Register of Historic Places. It has long been used as tenement housing, with occupants renting rooms by the week or month.
The city posted a 24-hour notice that the violations need to be corrected or the building evacuated on Thursday (March 9), and on Friday tenants had to be escorted out of the building.
“It’s cold as hell out there,” one resident told the Juneau Empire. “It’s a bad time to be kicking people out. The Bergmann is all we’ve got. Now we’ve got nowhere to go.”
Local social service agencies have reached out to help those families and individuals who were evacuated. The building had 42 rooms, but it is unclear how many tenants were displaced.
One of the building managers, Charles Cotten, was arrested Friday for failing to abide by the city’s notice, officials said.
Multiple Code Violations
The aging historic hotel had undergone a battery of inspections since last fall when the Capital City Fire/Rescue officials first issued letters to Bergmann Hotel owner Kathleen Barrett and building staff citing multiple code violations and details about how to make corrections.
Originally, the building management had until Nov. 18, 2016 to come into compliance. That date was extended to the end of February at Barrett’s request. In the interim, code officials monitored the structure with walk-throughs and communication with the owners and staff.
By March, few corrections had been made and several new violations were discovered, authorities alleged.
Barrett and Cotten are required to correct the violations before the building can be deemed safe for human occupancy again. The order can be appealed within 20 days of when it was issued. Reports do not indicate whether the owner plans to appeal.