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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
November 28, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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November 28, 2014

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Guest Column I I Catherine Hotel demolition reveals a potential fire hazard BY JON COUNCIL Avalon, steeped in traditions which range from sport fishing to the earliest days of scuba diving, the big band era and a chewing gum empire which has always had influence here, is changing. With a beautifully restored Encanto build- ing turned spa, substantial devel- opment along Descanso Beach, debates over the location of a new grocery store and of course the end of the Catherine Hotel. There may be endless discus- sions over what changes are war- ranted, welcomed or wanted, but there can be no mistake that the one guaranteed constant in this world is precisely that, change. In the case of the Catherine Hotel, whatever the arguments might be regarding its historical Jon Council Guest Columnist significance, it is without ques- tion a good thing that it is gone. I don't say this with any malice, none, zero. What I mean is that when the demolition began something was discovered that few may realize, in fact, may have never been discovered unless the demolition had begun in the first place. What was discovered was that the structure was a terrible accident waiting for the right moment and conditions to occur and it could have easily injured or killed someone in the process if it hadn't been unveiled. When work crews began remov- ing all the old lath and plaster and drywall sections around the masonry fire-exhaust flue it was revealed that over the years por- tions of the mortar between vari- ous courses of brick had decayed to the degree that hot gasses had been passing through the masonry and super-heating the surround- ing wooden framing structure. Consequently, over some period of time the heat charred the fram- ORDINANCE NO. 1134-14 AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF AVALON MODIFYING SECTION 3-1322, BUSINESSES, PROFESSIONS, TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS REQUIRING A SPECIAL LICENSE TO CONDUCT SAME WITHIN THE CITY WHEREAS, Section 3-1.122 of the Avalon Municipal Code establishes a requirement that, prior to engaging in certain businesses, the persons proposing to i~gage in such businesses obtain a special license from the City; WHEREAS, Many of the activities included in Section 3-1.122 of the Avalon Municipal Code may be carried on lawfully within the City and a special license requirement to engage in such activities is deemed unnecessary; and WHEREAS, the City desires to modify the ordinance by removing the special license requirement for certain activities; NOW THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF AVALON DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS: Crossword Solutions Findings. The above recitals are true and correct and are incorporated herein by this reference. The first sentence of Section 3-1.122 of the Avalon Municipal Code, Business, Professions, Trades and Occupations requiring a Special License to Conduct Same within the City is hereby modified as follows:. It shall be unlawful to conduct the following businesses without each person proposing to engage in such activities having a special license to conduct same issued pursuant to the provisions of thissection. ,~o, ~,v~y,v,o- ~, v, ~,v,~y, ~QIU I~O[glll~JI IVI I*gll~,-I.~a, lllll~l ~#QI I.UIIIQ*II~ayI ~.#lgll yUyOLIl~e~I L"I yOI.QI ~Ql.lll~l II.~/IIULI IIII ~IUIIIOIIIIJ~ IJIUl,/il~tsJfl UU~Ulyj UlVlIIr.tuuI% IIIU~JI~,~ li~,~lUillQllt~y7 IIUlIUVV|ILIII~J " Carnivals circuses of public (~IIIQLlyOI I UI Ul, ll~*l IIIIIIQI I~1 L O QllU ggOlll~e~e I gllg I I exhibitions, or other similar businesses. Section 2. Except as expressly modified by this Ordinance, all other portions of Section 3-t .122 of the Avalon Municipal Code shall remain in full force and effect. Effective Date. This Ordinance shall become effective thirty (30) days after its adoption. Custodian of Records. The documents and materials that constitute the record of proceedings on which these findings and this Ordinance are based are located at the City Clerk's Office at City Hall located at 410 Avalon Canyon Rd Avalon, CA 90704. The custodian of these records is the City Clerk. PublicaUon. The City Clerk shall certify to the adoption of this Ordinance and cause the same to be published as required by law. Introduced at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Avalon on the 21st day of October, 2014, and thereafter ADOPTED at a Regular Meeting of said City Council held on the 4th day of November, 2014, by the following vote to wit: AYES: Mayor Marshall, Councilmembers Olsen, Cassidy, Hernandez and Sampson NOES: None ABSENT: None ABSTAIN: None Ann H. Marshall,'Mayor ATTEST." Denise A. Radde, City Clerk APPROVED AS TO FORM: Scott H. Campbell Best Best & Krieger, LLP When work crews began removing all the old lath and plaster and drywall sections around the masonry fire-exhaust flue, it was revealed that over the years portions of the mortar brick had decayed to the point that hot gasses had passed through the masonry and super-heated the surrounding wood framing. Over time, the heat had charred the framing several inches into the wood. Courtesy photo ing several inches into the wood As an eight year member of covering an area roughly 4-5 feet the Avalon Fire Department I was around horizontally and nearly afforded a first-hand look at the that far vertically, burned area on Nov. 11, Avalon The onlyreasontheentirestruc- City and L.A. County fire ser- ture didn't ignite into flames was vice personnel conducted one of because the internal wall area was our routine drill programs on the dosed off and there simply wasn't Catherine premises. an air source to provide oxygen for Upon viewing the burn damage working flames to erupt. So the it was crystal clear to all fire ser- framing slowly smoldered any- vice persons that by simple luck time the flue was in use. our town had avoided a very real Basically, the char was like a and dangerous incident. punky piece of campfire wood There is something in the fire buried beneath the ashes, which service that is frequently dis- can't ignite, but certainly would cussed and driven into our col- have if given the right opportu- lective thinking through our nity. ongoing training, and that is the I=s A L L Yt Sl R L A'c KI -6 o FL FI TIotvl E R $1 N ?BI e/L u R N O C O A 'k E Y BJ ol A R D J P G A N DI ,IEIOI required components of the fire "Tetrahedron," which is a method to explain or categorize the neces- sary elements of a fire. Imagine a four sided pyramid with each of the sides representing a component of a fire, without any of them a fire cannot exist. The components include: 1 --Fuel 2--Heat source 3 --Oxygen 4--Chemical reaction If any of these elements can be removed or contained, then a working fire cannot ignite to begin with, or can be suppressed to extinguish one that has ignited. In the case of the Catherine structure, the mere fact that an airway had not been created is the only thing which kept the charred framing from igniting and possi- bly reducing the structure to ash. The purpose for this article is to remind people that, with winter and its cooler temperatures, many folks may want to cuddle up next to the fireplace. As such, I strong- ly encourage everyone to visually inspect their own chimney sys- tems to ensure that fireplace flues are clean and structurally sound. If you are unsure of what to look for during an inspection, then enlist a professional. This is particularly important for the many rental properties in town where renters may not con- sider that type of routine mainte- nance among their normal thought processes. Other concerns for this sea- son are space-area heaters and additional holiday electrical cords which can overload circuitry and cause issues with curtains, furni- ture upholstery, Christmas trees, throw rugs, etc. Aside from the obvious health and property risks associated with accidents of this nature, we in Avalon can ill afford to flow thou- sands of gallons of fresh water on a structure that could have avoided trouble through basic awareness and common sense practices. Please be smart, be aware and be proactive by taking the time to look around your home to identify and eliminate at-risk scenarios by reducing and removing conditions that could literally come back to burn you. If you have any questions regarding fire prevention and safety, feel free to contact Avalon Fire Department personnel at 310- 510-0203, extention-0. CITY OF AVALON PUBLIC NOTICE December Renewal bv Declaration Catalina Snorkel & Scuba-Renew Comm. Vehicle &Autoette Siria's Cleaning Service-Renew Comm. Autoette Catalina Steam Cleaning-Renew Comm. Autoette Christy Lins CPA-Renew Comm. Autoette Island Express Helicopters-Renew Comm. Vehicle Ken Redding Constr.-Renew Comm. Vehicles & Autoette Tremont Apts.-renew Comm. Autoette Vivid Visions-Renew Comm. Autoette Catalina Diver's Supply-Renew Comm. Vehicle Catalina Coffee & Cookie-Renew Comm. Autoette Kirkpatrick Maint.-Renew Comm. Autoette C&N Lins - Renew Comm. Vehicle Published: The Catalina Islander: Nov. 28, 2014 Posted: Bulletin Board at City Hall City of Avalon Website: 12 1 Friday, November 28, 2014 THE CATALINA ISLANDER