Firewatch lifted at Regional Operations Center

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An Indianapolis firefighter will no longer have to walk around the Regional Operations Center looking for potential fire at the old Eastgate Mall.

The City's Deputy Director of Public Safety says firewatch was finally lifted on Monday afternoon.

The communications center has been under constant surveillance since October when the city's fire marshal found the sprinkler and alarm systems out of compliance.

13 Investigates first reported the city was paying $840 a day for firewatch, while public safety officials and the managing owner of the property, Alex Carroll, went back and forth over compliance issues and at least 100 other punch-list items that need to be fixed.

In all, the firewatch cost the city $120,000. Fire Marshal Fred Pervine told 13 Investigates in January that his office was going to bill Carroll for at least $55,000 of that expense.

Valerie Washington, Deputy Director of Public Safety, says there was one issue that turned up in Monday's inspection of the facility's basement storage area. IMPD is storing old files in that basement, which were determined to be a hazard.

"IMPD will be removing those combustible items," Washington told 13 Investigates.

The city is continuing to make escrow rent payments to the bank on the property. Those payments are $57,083.33 monthly.

Washington says the city and Alex Carroll's attorneys plan to meet next week to discuss the ongoing improvements requested at the site, including better air flow systems, repaving of uneven floors and repairs for cracked walls.

13 Investigates went on a tour of the facility and saw some of the deficiencies up close.