Smoke detectors needed replacement in every apartment. A fire escape in the rear courtyard lacked footings and access from some windows. Carbon monoxide detectors were needed throughout the building.
Minneapolis Fire Department inspectors found those hazards and other problems at 510 Cedar Av. S. in August 2010, records show, the last time a full rental inspection was done on the building destroyed by Wednesday’s explosion and fire. By early last year, however, the landlord had fixed all of the problems uncovered in two 2010 inspections, according to records released Thursday by the city of Minneapolis.
The rental license inspection on the 10-unit apartment building, whose ground floor housed the Otanga grocery, was done about four months after a fire killed six people in an apartment above McMahon’s Irish Pub in south Minneapolis. At the time, the Star Tribune reported that the units in McMahon’s hadn’t been inspected in 16 years, prompting then-Fire Chief Alex Jackson to order immediate inspections of all other commercial buildings with upstairs apartments.
In addition to the fire hazards at Cedar Avenue, inspectors also found other serious violations in the building, including two illegal apartments, wires strung between two windows, pigeons nesting in a room on the third floor, insects infesting the second and third floors and mice that needed to be exterminated, records show. They gave the building’s owner, Garad Nor, about two weeks to fix the problems.
An inspection in October 2010 found more problems, these more minor, including an apartment that needed a new smoke detector, ceiling holes in a second-floor bathroom and a crumbling ceiling in an apartment, records show. The city gave Nor a month to fix those problems.
Nor could not be reached for comment Thursday, and his voice-mail box was full.
Records show the violations found during the August 2010 inspection were resolved by November 2011, while the problems noted in October 2010 were resolved by January 2013.
In January 2011, Nor was ordered to stop using PVC pipes to drain water from the roof. Two inspections were done in October 2012, which found graffiti in front of the building. In those cases, inspector Theodore Van Winkle said he did not go inside the building.
City spokesman Matt Laible and Fire Chief John Fruetel said Thursday that the city had no issues remaining from the building’s inspections.