Wednesday, June 25, 2014

City of Milwaukee Closed Esperanza Unida International Building Due To Fire Hazard

Faulty fire water sprinkle compressor system caused a five-day closing of the South side Esperanza Unida International building by order of the City of Milwaukee.

By H. Nelson Goodson
June 25, 2014

Milwaukee, WI - On Wednesday, the City of Milwaukee gave Esperanza Unida, Inc. a two hour notice to close their International building located at 611 W. National Ave. due to a faulty fire water sprinkle compressor system. The Esperanza Unida International building will be closed for the next five-days, according to Manuel "Manny" Pérez, the executive director of Esperanza Unida.
Pérez said, that on Monday employee's were doing an inspection of the fire sprinkle system when it was discovered that the compressor wasn't working. Pérez notified the city and on Wednesday around 10:00 a.m., Pérez was given a two hour notice to close the entire building effecting 20 tenants. Tenants are not allowed to enter without authorization or conduct business during the lock out.
A contractor has been called to fix the system and it will take at least five-days to repair the sprinkle water system compressor, according to Pérez. The estimated cost to fix the water system compressor could be under $12,000.
Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) was the first to report that the Esperanza Unida building had been sold for $1.3M to a local Milwaukee developer who will invest a $7M project to build a 55 apartment unit complex at the 611 W. National Ave. location. The tenants have until December to make arrangements before the developer who has not been identified by Pérez will take over the building.
In a released statement to tenants, Pérez said, "The City of Milwaukee notified us at 10:30 am of their decision and we notified you immediately. To be clear, the City of Milwaukee in this case is acting correctly given the importance of Fire Suppression Systems in any building. That the process could have been planned better or that they did not provide time to 4:00 pm would have been better; however, they made their decision and that is for them to evaluate. It also needs to be clear that there has not been negligence on the part of Esperanza Unida, myself or anyone in the team. If anything we have been extremely proactive; particularly because the Fire Inspection by the City of Milwaukee was not scheduled until October but at my directive we have been bringing contractors early in the year to inspect and maintain systems. This has included the elevators, boiler systems, sun pump system, many Exit signs that needed repair, electrical, etc. All of that work has been advanced without you knowing since the beginning of the year. Other items are EXIT signs repairs are also scheduled to take place and addressing the lack of HVAC in the 3rd floor particularly.
Once Engler Electric notified us of the fire suppression pump failure three days ago we (1) immediately notified the City inspectors; (2) immediately engaged the contractors to diagnose and prepare a solution for the issue. The solution was presented to the City and it was accepted. However, the City is also concerned that once the cabling is replaced we still do not know if the pump is good or not. We are already making preparations in case the pump is not good after replacing the cable. The contractor has provided an estimated completion time of July 2nd or earlier.  I assure you since last Thursday I have assigned this item the top priority to be addressed. I think this is a time to help an organization that now needs your help and that has helped all for many years. Developing a community is not an individual effort…it should be a collective effort."

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