Naiks fined on one citation, another dismissed

Work to address violations at Parkersburg buildings continues

Photo by Evan Bevins Parkersburg Municipal Court Judge Debra Steed, left, speaks during a hearing with Parkersburg Fire Chief Jason Matthews, center, and Naik properties representative Sunny Naik Monday at the Municipal Building. Steed enforced a citation at 625 Depot St. because sprinklers had not been inspected and tested as of Monday.

PARKERSBURG — The Naik companies were fined Monday for one citation and another was dismissed related to inspections of their facilities by the Parkersburg Fire Department.

Fire Chief Jason Matthews issued 20 citations on eight Naik properties in December as a result of inspections of their buildings prompted by the October 2017 fire that destroyed Intercontinental Export and Import Plastics in the former Ames shovel plant on Camden Avenue just outside city limits.

While no cause for that fire has been determined, the lack of knowledge about what plastic products and other materials were stored there and the conditions in which they were stored led state and local officials to take a closer look at similar properties owned by the Naik group and others.

The citations dealt with significant safety violations involving sprinklers, fire alarms, cluttered aisles and exits, Matthews has said.

Naik representatives have been in regular contact with city officials since then, and Matthews said fines had not been levied as the city works with the company to address items. However, the company had not corrected two of three items Municipal Court Judge Debra Steed said had to be resolved by Monday, when a hearing on the progress was held.

One was getting the sprinkler systems at the Atlas Steel and Green Sustainable Solutions complex at 625 Depot St. inspected and tested. The other was the removal of a plastic material, called sparger, which gives off an odor in heated conditions that acts as an irritant.

“I gave you from April 22 until today, so I’m going to enforce this ticket,” Steed said of the sprinkler inspection.

Sunny Naik, a representative for the Naik properties, said a contract has been signed and removal of the materials in question scheduled.

“They have two trucks coming Monday (June 17),” he said. “If it goes beyond that, a third truck will be scheduled.”

Steed told Naik to notify the city of the status of the work on June 17 and held off on enforcing the citation.

The fine for the sprinkler violation is $187. Matthews said he will issue a new citation this week, and if the inspections are not completed by the next hearing date, on July 22, a fine of $487 will be levied, due to a change in court guidelines.

Naik did not argue against the judge’s ruling.

“It’s all in line with what we agreed,” he said after the hearing.

Steed also ordered that new dry sprinklers being installed at 814 Jeanette St. be inspected and tested and 821 Jeanette St. be emptied of materials by July 22.

Those items were given a deadline of Monday at the April 22 hearing. Naik said and Matthews confirmed that four of the six sprinkler systems had been inspected and tested at 814 Jeanette and the remaining two were being replaced with dry systems.

As for the emptying of 821 Jeanette, Matthews said it was 75 to 80 percent complete and he is confident it will be finished in time.

“That was a monumental task,” he said, noting some of the boxes had broken as materials were being removed and workers had to use shovels to pick up what was stored inside. “Even from when I was there last week to today (Monday), there was a lot of progress.”

“It’s almost there,” Naik said. “I’ve got to coordinate trucks and logistics.”

Naik said the clean-out was delayed in part when the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office issued orders on April 23 to correct violations at the Naiks’ Evergreen Holdings location at 100 60th St., Vienna. A response has not been received from the state on the status of that violation and others involving a Naik facility in Ravenswood and a Parkersburg warehouse where they lease storage space.

Steed dismissed a citation regarding sprinklers at 835 Jeanette St. because those systems were inspected and tested.

Matthews said sprinkler systems have been inspected and tested at six Naik buildings in the city in the last six weeks.