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Officials frustrated by lack of access

Date: 1/16/2012

Jan. 16, 2012

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — The Wilbraham Fire Department will finally be able to complete its inspection of the building that houses O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub and Restaurant following a December 2011 fire, but the process wasn’t easy.

Capt. David Bourcier, who oversees fire prevention and training said he and Building Inspector Lance Trevallion had not been able to inspect the vacant second and third floors of the building located at 2823 Boston Road, largely because the building’s owner, East Longmeadow Selectman James Driscoll, had not allowed them access and the owners of the bar were not given a key to those levels.

“The landlord should provide a key to the proprietors in case there is ever a scenario, like this one, when they would need to get up there,” Bourcier said.

Bourcier told Reminder Publications on Jan. 12 that O’Driscoll’s management took it upon itself to hire a locksmith, allowing the Fire Department to gain access.

Driscoll said that he was not aware of the Fire Department’s desire to get into the building.

“Not a single phone call,” Driscoll said when asked if he had been contacted. “There have been zero issues. If they had called me, I would have been there in 20 minutes to let them in.”

Driscoll added that he has been at the property recently and has no problem allowing access.

“I had an appraiser up there [Jan. 11] and I’ve had a contractor up there painting and doing other work,” he said.

Bourcier, however, said Driscoll has been contacted regarding the need for inspection.

“He is very aware of the issue,” Bourcier said. “He has been formally contacted and I spoke to him personally the night of the fire. I’m not sure if he’s suffering from some kind of memory loss, but we have had that conversation.”

Bourcier explained that the building, which experienced a fire in the kitchen of O’Driscoll’s on Dec. 4, 2011, has a fire alarm system that must be tested.

“There are common areas that have to be inspected,” Bourcier said. “We don’t have to get into the actual living spaces, but we have to get into those common hallways to inspect and test the alarm system. The alarm system is all tied together and they all have to function properly. We have to test the system in its entirety.”

Trevallion and Bourcier originally expressed their concerns with the building when O’Driscoll’s ownership applied for an amendment to their entertainment license on Jan. 9.

O’Driscoll’s was requesting a one-time change to the license that would allow them to host a band consisting of five members, rather than the three they are normally permitted to celebrate the grand re-opening of the kitchen, which Pamela Beall, secretary Board of Selectmen, said they wished to host on Jan. 20.

In addition to those concerns, Trevallion questioned whether the kitchen could be reopened at that time, stating that he has received no plans, nor has he inspected the kitchen since the fire.

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