Hotel Replaces Faulty Fire Alarms Following Small Fire

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SCRANTON -- A hotel in a Scranton shut down Tuesday night because of a problem with its fire alarm system.

It turns out, that hotel may have been without fire protection for weeks, maybe even months.

The hotel's general manager said they had to evacuate more than 70 guests Tuesday, and they've been working since then to replace the fire alarm system.

Scranton firefighters received a tip call from a former employee of the Clarion Hotel in Scranton. That call unraveled what could have been a big problem for the hotel and city officials.

The city's director of inspections and permits, Mark Seitzinger went with firefighters to check out the tip calls claim.

That the hotel had a small fire in its basement over the weekend, and the fire alarms did not go off. Sure enough, Seitzinger found that the hotel's electrical panel that controls the fire alarms was dead and the alarms didn't work.

“It's dangerous, as of the other day they had 75 occupants or patrons of the building, that's 75 people not including employees that are at risk because there's no fire system,” said Seitzinger.

On the city's advice, hotel managers made the call to evacuate all of those 75 guests and sent them to nearby hotels. Among the displaced were realtors who were supposed to have a certification class at the Clarion, but they had to change their plans and move to another venue in Clarks Summit.

“We didn't get started til 20 minutes late this morning because there were folks who needed to find their way, and they had to pay quarters to park. At the Clarion they wouldn't have had to pay, so we're going to reimburse them for their parking expense,” said Bob McKnight of Vintage Real Estate Academy.

The Clarion Hotel's general manager, Mukib Rahman, said even though the tip caller claims to have known about the faulty alarms, the city's discovery came as a complete surprise to him, and a company was called in to replace the fire alarms right away.

“It was a huge surprise, but I'm glad we were able to identify before it became serious,” said Rahman.

City officials said Clarion has passed all of its recent inspections, but there's no way to know when in the last year the fire alarms stopped working. The hotel needs to test its new alarm system before they can reopen. City officials said they wont face any fines for this mix-up.