Rockland fire chief says postal supervisor told him he has no authority to inspect post office
ROCKLAND — Rockland’s fire chief said he is both baffled and concerned by the insistence of the U.S. Postal Service that he has no authority to enforce safety codes in the federally-owned building.
Rockland Fire Chief Christopher Whytock said Monday, Jan. 14 that he contacted a supervisor for the Postal Service at the regional offices in Portland following a Dec. 20 incident in which the Rockland post office was filled with smoke and postal officials initially refused to evacuate.
“I was told right up front that I had no authority to enforce codes in their building,” Whytock said.
He said he was informed that he could leave his “list of findings” with the person who is responsible for building maintenance, and she would talk to the postmaster in Rockland.
The Rockland building had no smoke alarms, no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, and the fire extinguishers had expired inspections when the fire department responded to the Dec. 20 smoke event, the chief said.
“I couldn’t meet either one of them to talk about the issues found, nor could I follow up with any sort of inspection,” the chief said.
“This baffles my mind for so many obvious reasons. Not only the fact that they follow no life safety codes, but that the building leases space to private citizens, who I believe they have a responsibility to protect. Add to this the public who go into that building every day to carry out their business,” the chief said.