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Flowery Fire Escapes at the Hayward Uprooted in the Name of Safety

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 09:13AM
Hayward Fire Escape Flowers Eric Richardson [Flickr]

These flowers on the fire escapes of the Hayward Hotel at 6th and Spring will be removed today due to safety rules.

Flower boxes on the fire escapes of the Hayward Hotel will be removed today, a seemingly simple bit of neighborhood beautification nixed by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The department says that the boxes could impede its ladders, and is requiring that they be removed.

While the notion of fire escapes like those on the Hayward seems antiquated, units that still have their functional qualities are required to comply with rules that they be free of obstructions. The flowers at the Hayward have been up for more than a year, but in recent months caught the eye of an inspector who ordered them taken down.

Eric Shomof of building owner Pacific Investments disagrees that the planters provide a problem for firefighters -- and sent blogdowntown a photo of an LAFD ladder raised to a landing with flowers -- but sees the bigger issue as one of the City's priorities in enforcement.

"Why are city agencies coming to penalize the building owners that are trying to beautify and restore the city?" Shomof asked via email. "There are numerous buildings on Broadway that are definitely hazardous and not up to code, yet these agencies are focusing on minute details that realistically do not pose a threat, but instead provide a service.

"It seems as though, these city officials are taking advantage of the fact that active owners will comply," Shomof continued, "whereas most building owners on Broadway will not, so they don't even bother."


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