Boardwalk employees worried over potential fire hazard

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Tragedy in Seaside Heights, New Jersey hits home along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. The city's fire marshal says the buildings are up to code, but something else has some Boardwalk employees on edge.

"It's a tragedy what's going on in New Jersey right now with that boardwalk," said Fire Marshal Bruce Arnel. "There is a potential at our boardwalk, but not as great a potential as at Seaside Heights.  Our boardwalk is a lot smaller number one, and the majority of our boardwalk is concrete."

It's not the age or construction of the buildings that have local employees worried though, it's the ashtrays provided by the City of Myrtle Beach.

"They're on fire three or four times a day," said Jeff Johnson, who works at an information kiosk on the Boardwalk. "It's not so bad out on the boulevard, but on the boardwalk you've got trees. We've had to pour cups of water over them to get them out."

Other people who work on the Boardwalk back up Johnson's claims, saying the ashtrays fill up too fast, and can sometimes ignite. Johnson says he's made calls to city administrators about the problem, but says the people he spoke with weren't sure what department handled the ash trays.

WMBF News made several calls to the city, and finally got a hold of a representative in Parks and Recreation who said it was her department's responsibility, and that employees empty out the trays when they notice they're full.

City spokesperson Mark Kruea, upon hearing about the complaints, said the city may need to empty the trays out more often.

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