A routine fire code inspection last week resulted in the evacuation and closure of a business building in downtown Price.
The Castle Valley Mall, located at 11 West Main in downtown Price, was evacuated and shut down following numerous alleged fire code violations.
The building served as a location to three businesses and two non-profit agencies. In addition, several tenants lived in the basement.
Everyone in the building was forced to leave the premises until the alleged violations have been brought back into compliance with the fire code, according to Price officials.
The Price mayor and council recently changed the job description of one of the city's building inspectors to include fire marshal responsibilities.
Under the new title, Bob Bennett has been systematically inspecting businesses in Price for fire code violations.
When Bennett arrived at the Castle Valley Mall last week, the Price city fire marshal reportedly discovered that six apartments in the basement of the building had been rented to tenants.
According to Price Fire Chief Kent Boyack, the rental of the apartments created several public safety issues.
The alleged fire code violations all occurred in the basement of the building and had to do with issues such as no alarm system, lack of a sprinkler system and problems with the ceiling tiles in the hallway.
"People cannot stay here until these have been repaired," stated Boyack during an interview Monday. "There would be no way to get people out of that basement if there was a fire," he said, adding that it would be a real problem for fire fighting officials to respond to this location.
The Castle Valley Mall is currently owned by Johnson Land, a company headquartered in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake company purchased the building about 12 years ago.
Unrelated to the alleged fire code violations, Price law enforcement officers recently responded to several citizen complaints regarding alleged criminal activity at the residential area inside the Castle Valley Mall.
After arriving at the scene, Price police personnel reportedly discovered a couch blocking the exit-entry way in the hall leading to the apartments in the building, pointed out Capt. Kevin Drolc during an interview Monday.
The criminal investigation into the complaints culminated in the arrests of several suspects on disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and assault against a law enforcement officer charges, confirmed Drolc.
One Price city law enforcement officer currently remains on light duty assignment due to injuries purportedly sustained in connection with the assault incident, indicated the police police captain.
Price officials called on the state fire marshal's office to assist in conducting the code compliance inspection at the building.
Local officials assisting with the code compliance inspection at the building included Boyack and Chief Aleck Shilaos from the Price City Police Department, concluded Drolc.