Ohio Fire District Moves To Force The Closure of Motel

An Ohio fire district has filed suit to close an area hotel due to fire code violations. Cardinal Joint Fire District Deputy Chief Matt Rarick filed suit last week seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction prohibiting the continued occupancy of the Canfield Colonial Motel.

According to the suit filed in Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas:

  • Chief Matt Rarick has found that the Colonial Motel and all structures upon its premises are especially liable to fire or endanger life or other buildings or property due to their want of proper repair, age, dilapidated condition, defective or poorly installed electrical wiring and equipment, and for all other reasons set forth in the citations.
  • Plaintiff Matt Rarick has issued citations and orders that the building and structures be repaired, tom down, demolished, material removed, and all dangerous conditions remedies.
  • Plaintiff Matt Rarick also believes, based upon the facts set forth in the attached reports and citations (see Exhibits D through H), that a fire and/or explosion hazard exists which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm if not eliminated immediately.
  • Plaintiff Matt Rarick reasonably believes that this Court must take immediate action pursuant to R.C. 3737.44 to order that the property be vacated until such time as the defendants have corrected or removed the imminent danger to the occupants and invitees of the property.

The fire district’s attorney, my good friend and firefighter-attorney Chip Comstock, said: “The fire district filed the complaint to protect both the occupants of the structure and the firefighters who may be called upon to respond to the building in the event of a fire.” The property is in foreclosure and according to the complaint one of the principal owners of the company, Todd M. Cleavenger “was previously convicted of kidnapping and assault in Summit County, and is presently incarcerated.”

Here is a copy of the complaint.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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