BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Owners of local storage sites told Raleigh County Commission on Tuesday that their site plans are being denied, based on turn-of-the-century law.
Raleigh Commission President Dave Tolliver called enforcement of the law “crazy.” He and commissioners Linda Epling and Greg Duckworth said Tuesday, June 21, 2022, that they are asking the State Fire Marshal’s Office to reassess the plans.
According to business owners, they have submitted site plans for their storage unit businesses to the State Fire Marshal’s Office and gotten approval. They reported that when the Raleigh County representative of the State Fire Marshal’s Office examined the plans, he denied them until they installed sprinkler systems in the spacious facilities.
The owner of one site, Gray Fox storage, reported his facility has already been built in Macarthur.
Tolliver reported that it is the first time in his memory that the sprinkler is being required. He said that it stems from a 1900 law that is active but has not been enforced. He added that it is unnecessary because nobody lives in the storage units and that the sprinkler system does not protect residents.
“It’s the craziest thing,” said Tolliver, who was an inspector for Beckley Fire Department for around 30 years. “They’re obstructing businesses to make money in the state.
“As a former inspector for Beckley City Fire Department, it’s crazy.
It doesn’t make a bit of sense.”
County attorney Bill Roop said it is likely the State Fire Marshal’s Office has issued the edict and that he has reached out to the state officers to resolve the issue.
He said he hopes to have a solution within a week.
A storage unit on Ragland Road caught on fire in November and required firefighters to respond.
County officials said they are unsure if that’s why the Fire Marshal is citing the turn-of-the-century law or whether there is another reason.
County fire marshal Bobby Palmer was not immediately available on Tuesday afternoon.