Fire Marshal orders shutdown of Autauga County motel

Published: Oct. 12, 2013 at 7:28 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2013 at 8:05 PM CDT
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AUTAUGA CO., AL (WSFA) - The Knights Inn is located on Highway 31 in Autauga County just off Interstate 65 in Pine Level has been ordered to be shut down by the state Fire Marshal..

"This used to be the Ramada Inn when it was first built in the late '70s," said Jeremy Allen, District Manager of Operations for Knights Inn.   Today, more than 30 years later time and neglect through several changes in ownership have taken their toll.

This week during a routine inspection the state Fire Marshal saw too much to allow Knights Inn to remain open and ordered the place to close beginning Monday. "We welcome this because we are in the process of renovating the motel," Allen said.

Allen describes the violations as 'few but huge.' The challenges range from electrical to structural issues and not enough fire extinguishers.   Allen says Knights Inn is owned by the Wyndham Hotel Group based in New Jersey.

Jeremy Allen isn't just dealing with fire code violations but environmental ones as well.   Behind the motel, for example, part of the parking lot collapsed and someone has turned the gaping hole into a trash dump. It's filled with mattresses, beer cans and a vacuum cleaner. Allen says his people were not responsible for this but promises it too will be dealt with.

In the meantime there seems to be an effort to start cleaning up the motel. Saturday one man was pulling up weeds out front and a glass company stopped by to take measurements to replace the shattered glass in the front door.

Although Allen says they 'welcome' the Fire Marshal's inspection and report he plans to appeal the shutdown in Autauga County Circuit Court Monday morning.

For now Jeremy Allen admitted Knights Inn has a long way to go, a long way to scrape off the rust from the past.

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