Fire marshal: Ramada Inn shutdown Friday

Published 2:47 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

The state fire marshal’s office shut down the Brewton Ramada Inn Friday, citing unsafe conditions for guests.

Fire Marshal Ed Paulk said the cease and desist order was issued earlier in the afternoon, and guests must vacate the property by Saturday.

“I issued the order because of the condition of the building,” Paulk said. “There were roof issues and other issues inside the building because of the roof’s condition.”

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The two-story structure sits on Douglas Avenue and houses 90 rooms, Paulk said. Of those, only 10 rooms were available for occupancy, he said.

“I’ve given them 24 hours to clear guests,” Paulk said. “Employees will be on site over the next few days to manage assets and get them to a safe location.”

Sarju Patel, one of the Ramada Inn property owners, said the fire marshal’s decision was not a surprise.

“We had actually stopped renting rooms on Tuesday because we knew something had to be done with the building,” Patel said as she described the building’s roofing issues. “The building is 40 years old, and that old, flat-styled roof has been repaired at least three times. We couldn’t get a permit from the state to repair it again.

“Without that permit, we couldn’t fix the roof, and there was nothing we could do to fix the inside,” she said.

Patel said residents shouldn’t worry about the loss of a local hotel.

“Right now, we’re working with the mortgage company to find a solution,” she said. “We don’t want to have an empty building in Brewton. We’ll either find a different renovation avenue or tear it down and construct a new franchise hotel in its place.”