Doors, windows boarded at Vandalia Super 8 motel declared unsafe last week

City files lawsuit; judge grants temporary injunction to order motel to cease operations.

The doors and windows of a Super 8 motel were boarded up Monday and the city of Vandalia has filed a lawsuit to have the motel declared a public nuisance.

The operating permit for the motel at 550 E. National Road was revoked Friday after an inspection earlier in the week showed the facility failed to correct multiple violations of the city’s fire code. As a result of the inspection, the building was declared an unsafe structure and two general managers were arrested and charged with misdemeanor fire code violations, according to Rich Hopkins, Vandalia communication manager.

Hopkins said that Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Richard S. Skelton on Monday granted a temporary injunction ordering the operators of the three-story, 94-room motel to cease occupancy and/or operation pending further court action. The injunction is part of the city’s civil lawsuit filed Friday seeking to have the court declare the motel a public nuisance due to deteriorating conditions, structural problems with the building, a high number of calls for service and fire code violations.

Some of the fire code violations at the motel included multiple rooms with no working smoke detectors, guests using hot plates or cookware with multiple extension cords in rooms not equipped to handle the additional electric demands, a fire pump and standpipe system that had not passed annual inspections, defective fire doors and potentially hazardous structural issues with the balcony and pedestrian walkway.

The city said some of these violations were first noted in 2019. In an order to evacuate the motel, the city listed a dozen specific open violations that have to be addressed.

Hopkins said police and fire personnel went door to door in the motel Monday to make sure each room was empty. Then, the company authorized by the city boarded the doors and windows.

“This is not a decision we take lightly,” Vandalia City Manager Dan Wendt said. “Unfortunately the owners of this business left us no other option.”

Wendt said the city is committed to working with the courts “until the motel is completely up to code, or it is closed permanently.”

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