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Fire Watch Unfolding at Dunkin’ Donuts Park

Hartford Yard Goats

With construction halted at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the City of Hartford is committing significant time and resources to a fire watch at the unfinished ballpark.

Work stopped on the future home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) earlier this month, when developer Centerplan Cos. and DoNo, LLC had its contract with the city terminated by the Hartford Stadium Authority. At the time, Dunkin’ Donuts Park was not equipped with working sprinkler systems, forcing the city to station firefighters at the ballpark on an around-the-clock basis.

With three firefighters stationed during each of the three shifts, the city has already committed $6,200 per day from its overtime budget. The fire watch began on Friday, and to this point has cost the city nearly $40,000.

According to city officials, this is standard operation procedure, which makes sense given that a large, unfinished structure such as Dunkin’ Donuts Park presents the potential for plenty of hazards. One unresolved issue, however, is who will ultimately pay for the fire watch. Hartford officials say that they expect the costs to be covered by Arch Insurance—which is investigating a performance bond claim from the city—but Arch has yet to say when it will render its stance on the issue. More from the Hartford Courant:

If the investigation determines that the city was at fault for cost overruns and construction delays at the ballpark, Arch could decide the cost of the fire watch should be shouldered by the city.

[Fire chief Reginald] Freeman said the fire watch — an ever-changing rotation of firefighters — was requested last week by Sean Fitzpatrick, the city’s director of development and that they are not unusual, especially in places of public assembly or large residences without a working fire sprinkler system.

This is the latest development out of Hartford, where more consequences are playing out as the result of delays to the ballpark’s opening. The Yard Goats recently announced that the stoppage in the project forced them to lay off four employees, while the city and the developer continue to squabble over who is at fault for the ongoing issues with the $63 million ballpark.

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