Township hires firm to inspect Niles Haunted House

Published 4:18 am Tuesday, April 4, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The Niles Township board of trustees Monday night voted to hire Schirmer Engineering to perform building and fire code inspections in township buildings. The board said contracting with the Deerfield, Ill. company was necessary in order to ensure coverage with the township's insurance in case of an accident at the Niles Haunted House Scream Park.
The services will cost the township a total of $20,540.
Trustees said the township's fire and building inspectors are not qualified to evaluate the unique situation at the scream park.
Ringler said hundreds of people walking through a dark house with poor visibility due to special lighting and smoke effects is a serious hazard if the structure is not up to code.
The board said Schirmer came with a high recommendation because the company specializes in inspections of entertainment facilities, such as amusement parks.
The board originally expected the state would be responsible for assessing township structures.
Instead, Ringler said neglecting to have a company like Schirmer perform the inspections places the township in a situation where they could be held liable for an accident at the haunted house.
The board also took the next step in the process of moving Niles Township to a charter status. A petition would have to be signed by at least 10 percent of the number of people that voted for Supervisor William Myers, or around 200 people, to halt the process, Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt said.
Durm-Hiatt also said the transition “is not going to affect anybody's taxes.”
The board also announced a special public meeting on Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. to discuss the 11th Street water project.