By Sylvia Gonzalez
BIG SPRING - New questions involving the recent opening of the Hotel Settles in Big Spring. One resident is wondering whether or not the Fire Department is adequately equipped to fight a fire at the high rise.
"I can't express how confident I am in the safety of that building and every other building that we inspect around town," Fire Chief, Craig Ferguson, said.
Ferguson is talking about the fire safety plans at the newly opened Hotel Settles. That concern was raised when a local resident submitted an open records request form a week ago to identify the safety measures the Hotel Settles has in place. He wanted to know how the town would act in case of a fire, considering there is no high rise ladder. However, Ferguson says his men have been trained to fight any type of fire, in any type of building.
"We require our guys to learn the special tools that go along with that. They have to do pre-fire plans and walk through of the building so they can learn the different areas of the buildings, learn where the stairs are and how to best utilize that," Ferguson said.
An upgraded stairwell was required by the Big Spring Fire Department but Hotel Settles also implemented new safety measures to ensure the safety of their guests.
"They have fire doors on each floor to allow for evacuation. We required fire pumps to be installed in the basement to assist in the sprinkler system and the standpipes systems. We required outdoor fire escapes from the third floor down with lighting," Ferguson said.
Fire Marshall Carl Condray says he feels the department does not need a high rise ladder to save people's lives, as a matter of fact, he believes his firefighters can do the same job with the same effectiveness.
"Fire escape stairs will allow us, if need be, as firefighters to take people down in stretchers, gurney, chairs, whatever those that are unable to ambulate, we have the width and the safety to bring them down the stairs in a safe and controlled manner which is much more effective than an aerial ladder," Condray said.
Juan Rodriguez, General Manager at Hotel Settles, says they have done everything they can to keep their guest safes at all times.