Fire alarm system at $375 million Staples Center doesn't work (CA) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Fire alarm system at $375 million Staples Center doesn't work

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The fire alarm system at the nation's most expensive arena doesn't work.

The $375 million Staples Center opened three months ago with an impressive light and sound system, luxury boxes, humidors and wine cellars, but its fire alarms aren't expected to work for another few weeks.

"We are dealing with a system that will mass-evacuate 19,000 to 20,000 people. It is unique compared to any other system," Staples Center President Tim Leiweke said, adding that the system has 25,000 components that have to be individually tested.

Arena executives have already paid more than $100,000 to keep six city fire inspectors on site at public events to watch for problems and manually activate the fire alarms, if necessary.

Leiweke said that scrutiny makes for a safe arena until the fire alarm system is functioning, likely in mid-February.

"Any little mistake -- I mean a box in an exit where it's not supposed to be, a seat in an aisle -- it's all brought to our attention," Leiweke said. "We even had to haul away our office Christmas tree because they felt it was unsafe. There aren't that many buildings that have this kind of scrutiny."

Fire Marshal Jimmy H. Hill said the department has been lenient on Staples Center officials, but he stepped up pressure last week when he felt they were dragging their feet on getting the system working.

"They should be really working feverishly on this," he said.

Until the alarms are working, the Staples Center will operate on a temporary occupancy permit. It is common for buildings to open with a temporary permit pending certification of fire alarm systems, Hill said.

"It gives them an opportunity to basically get in, even though the building may still have some deficiencies," he said. "They can fix things up in a short period of time."

-- Homer Beanfang (, February 02, 2000



-- blacktooth (, February 02, 2000.

Well, the Lakers are playing bad basketball anyway. Shaq is the only guy rebounding, Kobe apparently thinks he's the center of the universe, and Rice needs a change of scenary. No worry about them setting the place on fire anytime soon.

Might want to get a bit concerned when my Blazers next visit, however. 8-}

-- DeeEmBee (, February 03, 2000.

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