HOUSTON (FOX 26) - "Less than 50 percent of the motels and hotels in Houston have had their yearly inspection in the last year,” says civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen. He claims that City of Houston Fire Marshal Jerry Ford ordered two inspectors in charge of investigating motels and hotels not to do full yearly inspections.
"But to send out a self-reporting checklist to the motel owners and hotel owners to do it themselves,” adds Kallinen. The attorney showed FOX 26 News a document called a hotel-motel inspection checklist. He claims Ford told the fire marshal's office inspectors to have hotel and motel owners fill out the form instead of conducting full inspections.
Kallinen contends the business owners don’t have the expertise to fill out the inspection form and he questions how honest some might be about reporting violations which could result in fines.
Where did the attorney get his information about the fire marshal's alleged directive?
“I got it from the horses’ mouth,” explains Kallinen. “The people who actually do the full inspections.”
George Hernandez, the city’s longest-serving fire marshal inspector, stood next to the attorney but didn’t speak to FOX 26, citing fire department policy.
In a statement, the Houston Fire Department denies any order to delay or cease inspections but makes no reference to the self-reporting allegation.
“Thousands and thousands of visitors for the Super Bowl are sitting in motels and hotels which have not had their yearly fire inspection,” says Kallinen.
HFD released the following statement to FOX 26:
According to Fire Marshal Jerry Ford, there has been no order to delay or cease inspections. On the contrary, inspectors were instructed to ensure that fire suppression system inspection reports were up to date for all facilities being utilized during the Super Bowl.
The safety of our citizens and visitors is our number one concern.