Fire Marshal shuts down motel housing foreign students - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Inspection allows Calypso Motor Inn to reopen

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Source: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker Source: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Buildings at the Calypso Motor Inn have been allowed to reopen after correcting the safety concerns that caused the Myrtle Beach Fire Marshal to shut them down.

Fire Marshal and Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Arnel shut down one full building and a floor of another in the Calypso Motor Inn on June 17.

On Friday, June 28, Arnel confirmed that an inspection of the buildings would allow them to reopen, but there would be a follow-up inspection on July 17 to check on housekeeping issues such as disorderly storage and electrical items.

The Calypso Motel, or Calypso Motor Inn, is located on First Avenue North and Flagg Street in Myrtle Beach. A large number of foreign workers, part of the international student work program, have been staying in the hotel for the summer, and claim at least seven people were assigned to each room.

Those workers were being charged $8 per night to stay in the motel, and they claim it's not safe. The smoke alarms were not functional, and it's overcrowded. The Fire Marshal said that new, functional smoke alarms have since been installed.

The owner of the motel says the safety concerns that led authorities to shut it down surround the integrity of the stairwell in one building and adds he would be kicking all of the students out for what he called "disorderly" behavior.

"We closed the house because a piece of the stair was missing. And the smoke detector. They closed the whole house, and evicting like 34 people from there," said motel owner Yehuda Sadeh.

Sadeh expected to have all those concerns corrected in the next few days.

The students that were staying in the motel were standing outside the day after the Fire Marshal shut the place down with all their belongings, and it was unclear if they packed up their own things or if they had been kicked out.

They told reporter Will Whitson that the owner refused to return their security deposits, so they called the police. Police instructed them to wait nearby, and if the owner did not return the money they were owed, that they could take their case to a magistrate court.

The owner eventually did reimburse the students with their security deposits, but he didn't answer questions about the situation.

Most of those students say they have found temporary housing until more permanent arrangements can be made, and police officers and their sponsors worked to transport them to another motel.

Some of the students complained that the housing situation was more awful that originally reported. They say the wall outlets sparked when they tried to plug things in. The window curtains were taped to the wall to prevent natural light from entering the room, and the rooms were never cleaned.

The eight people sharing one of the rooms say they were each charged $80 per week, leaving little to no money for food and other necessities.

"The other girls and I, there were five of us," said student Sonja Rynhart. "We were each paying $80 a week, so that's $200 each week."

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