GODFREY — Safety concerns threatened to close an embattled Godfrey motel last week, the latest issue in the village’s ongoing efforts to see the property rehabilitated.
Officials on Sept. 7 gave occupants of Godfrey’s Hiway House Motor Inn a 24-hour evacuation notice after it was discovered the motel, 3023 Godfrey Road, didn’t have a working phone service by which to contact an alarm company in the event of an emergency. Godfrey Fire Protection District Chief Erik Kambarian, who is also the village’s fire code enforcement officer, said he first learned of the issue when investigating possible tampering with a smoke alarm at the inn. Through his investigation, he learned there wasn’t a working phone service.
“Without that, any fire alarm that is triggered at the Hiway House is never transmitted. So, it is never received by the central alarm station, and it is never dispatched to us,” Kambarian said. “That is not only a concern, but that is a violation of the village fire code.”
After being served the notice, owners corrected the problem at 12:51 p.m. the following day, Kambarian said, roughly 40 minutes before officials were set to clear the property.
The inn has been in and out of the good graces of the village for over a year. Last August, the village board voted to get the ball rolling with the process of condemning the building, but village officials said they wouldn’t condemn the property if owner Harjeet Singh made progress in addressing safety concerns laid out by the village.
Presently, rooms in the main office building and rooms on the first floor of the southernmost building are available for rent, Kambarian said, but rooms in all the other buildings remain closed. Kambarian said he didn’t know how many people presently occupy rooms at the motel.
“There are still several buildings that are not open for business. The buildings that are open for business remain open, and we continue to keep a close eye on the safety of that property,” Kambarian said.