Chattanooga Fire Marshal James Whitmire and the City Council agreed Tuesday to defer action on enacting the most restrictive fire code rules in city history, after confusion reigned during a meeting to discuss the measure.
The rule, which would have required existing sports bars, restaurants with live entertainment, dance halls, discotheques, nightclubs and "assembly occupancies with festival seating" install sprinkler systems, came under fire from all corners.
Club owners, code officials and citizens gathered to listen to, and often participate in, the spirited debate.
Council members repeatedly expressed confusion as to whether the law in question had been previously passed. Additionally, they were unable to get a clear answer on the city¹s liability, and it was not apparent if the measure was required by federal or state law.
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Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...