City of Bloomington officials recently learned of a potentially dangerous problem with the ventilation system at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Mayor Tari Renner says the situation could only have happened in case a fire activated an emergency exhaust system.
"Well. the ventilation is producing, or it was producing, some what they call negative pressure so it would have been difficult to get out of the emergency exits if in the event of an emergency where there was smoke. So what we have done is we have now shifted it to manual operation so essentially the Coliseum is now safe."
"The ceiling fans which basically clear out the smoke, if you had that, then it would be almost impossible to open the emergency doors man(ually)...the average person. So now that's not the case."
Renner says the Fire Chief has signed off on the current stopgap measure and is allowing occupancy of the building. A week and a half ago, a consultant examining safety systems found the flaw that could have sealed an audience inside during a fire. Renner says there are several options for a long term fix.
"It was really disappointing that a building this new would have these kinds of problems with ventilation. We aren't sure though at this point who to go after to recover our costs for this. It's not clear where the responsibility lies."
Renner says there is no precise cost estimate for needed changes, but that it will certainly be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
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