Fire violation shuts down VFW Post in Somerville

On November 17, 2011, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

According to Somerville Fire Chief Kevin Kelleher,  the George Dilboy VFW Post 529  at 371 Summer St. has been shut down indefinitely due to a fire violation.  More details to follow.


43 Responses to “Fire violation shuts down VFW Post in Somerville”

  1. Audie Murphy says:

    All this happened because some yuppie who is against re-development had an axe to grind, not against, the VFW, but the developers. Now the VFW is gone and the development will still happen. Thanks a bunch, chief. You really made this community a better place, huh? That is why people can’t stand yuppies, they destroy everything they touch.

  2. Ron Newman says:

    Most of the ‘yuppies’ I know around here support having a VFW post in Davis Square, and are as upset by this as you are. I hope the city will quickly find a way to reopen the post.

  3. DCR says:

    This is an interesting story. I was told by some firefighters that the big information desk blocking access to the exit and entrance to City Hall is illegal. They told me that it is a violation of the Massachusetts State Building Code ans some fire laws. What is more interesting is that they told me a firefighter in charge of these types of safety issues personally told the Mayor, the Fire Chief, and Building Department officials that the desk had to be moved for safety reasons.

    What upsets me is that they also told me that the firefighter in question was hounded and harassed over this and that the Mayor sent a cop to deliver a letter meant to intimidate this firefighter and that the cop told the firefighter that he was in trouble with the Mayor. I was also told other things that are disturbing.

    Is this true? I want the Mayor and Fire Chief to respond to this allegation. The people who told me this are quite believable. Is it true and who is the firefighter so that we can hear from him?

  4. John Mitaras says:

    What exactly was the violation, and when will the Post re-open?

    john mitaras
    American Legion Post Commander

  5. TomB says:

    The VFW is getting hood winked by the develepor…..Stay where you guys are, don’t sell…Your making a big economic mistake….Trust me, dont sell stay where you are…

  6. j. connelly says:

    The Chief himself is a veteran & it is a hard decision to make, but his priority is his job to protect the public, you cannot fault him for doing his job properly. This Veterans Post had a fire in the past. It is older construction. Afer the fiasco of overcrowding & loss of many lives in the RI club fire…this is an important safety factor for all.

  7. j. connelly says:

    “What exactly was the violation?”

    Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.) chapter 148, requires any restaurants, clubs, etc. with an occupancy of 100 or more to install sprinklers.

    I believe it was passed in 2004 as a result of the RI night club fire where
    a large number of people died as a result of no sprinklers in the building,

    I believe they gave all restaurants, clubs etc. a period of three years to get the sprinklers installed. So basically you can not have a bar or function hall with an area to hold 100 or more people without sprinklers. Sprinklers/smoke detectors save lives.

    There are some communities that mandate even new homes to have sprinkler systems in the areas that may be occupied, ironically in these newly developed complexes they do not install them in cocklofts as seen in recent large complex fires in Danvers, etc., with sprinklers. You have still seen total complexes burn to the ground as the fire has gotten into the cocklofts and spead over the entire top of the buildings.

  8. sue says:

    I think the violation was of a little-known, but becoming popular, statute:

    ‘Old men and women, i.e. ‘townies’, using very valuable land which use does not benefit city government, or Davis Square as a whole, and which use does not include one up-scale restaurant, million dollar condo, or public bar.’

  9. HahahhaHHAhhahAHAHA says:

    The hypocrisy is stunning. Most of the people commenting about leaving the post alone and yuppie this and yuppie that are the same ones that would SCREAM “illegal is illegal” when it comes to immigration issues. How’s that shoe feel on that foot?

  10. robofifi says:

    Fire safety is no joke, and not being up to code is a major risk and disservice — not only to the guests of events that are held there, but also to the veteran members themselves (who are likely to be the ones most frequently in attendance)!

    It’s shameful for the Post’s administrators to put fellow veterans’ safety on the back burner — this should have been a priority addressed years back.

    I hope they are able to put the proper precautions in place and get back up on their feet.

  11. Joseph Keller says:

    They’ll have to build a WTF Post now.

  12. addie says:

    What does it mean for the closing to be indefinite? Am I missing something? I mean, just a sprinkler system, correct? Jeez.

  13. Hacker says:

    Will you people get your story straight? Are yuppies against re-development or for it? Audie and Sue seem to disagree.

    Thanks to Mr. Connelly for the useful information and comments.

    (And what about the rumors that yuppies spread Cancer to kill off old ‘townies’ in Somerville – why is nobody investigating that? Oh right, it was the managers of the old barrel factory who did that…)

  14. Audie Murphy says:

    So you’re laughing at the fact that veterans no longer have a home, because apparently all veterans hate undocumented immigrants? who’s the ignorant one, friend?

  15. Smedley D. Butler says:

    The US military has a high percentage of minority and immigrant service members. It is one place where truly anyone has a chance of advancing themselves. I was proud to serve with them, documented or not. Yet now I’m being laughed at because I want a place to meet with other veterans and share stories with the only people who could possibly understand me. You laugh at service members, yet continue to not understand why people hate you. Yes, the hypocrisy IS stunning.

  16. K says:

    I’m a yuppie and want the post to stay. Why can’t they just work on fixing the violation, to ensure everyone’s safety?

  17. George S. says:

    have any of you ever been in the Dilboy Post? Should have been shut down several years ago. Not saying the Vets dont need a place, but that place needs to be kept closed or fixed up. Remember they still can smoke down there. 40 years of nicotine stains on the walls.

  18. Winter Hill Barney says:

    Give it a rest on the same-old, same-old, will you all, please? (I’ll note that Audie Murphy kicked it off. Troll.)

    Fire safety regulations are to be taken seriously. What are the details of the development deal the VFW is involved in? There’s obviously more than enough money flowing around to install a sprinkler system.

  19. Ron Newman says:

    The issue (which I hope a future article will address more fully) is that the current Dilboy Post has no sprinkler system. Installing one is expensive, especially since the Dilboy would like to move into a new building down the street.

    Unfortunately, that building is tied to a condominium development that many people in the immediate neighborhood oppose. It is unfortunate that those neighbors are taking their frustrations out on the existing Dilboy Post, bombarding the city with complaints such as the one that caused this shutdown.

  20. steve says:

    i am a vet and have been a guest in the dilboy. i respect all vets but how could vfw dept of defense fire comm. health dept let this old post wear down so bad for so long.

    good god man its ancient down there downright dreary… 4 tables near the bar army/navy/air force/marines. that room w pool table card room in the back looked so old the walls were rwady to cave in the tables booths from the 40’s!

    its a miracle it wasant shut before this.. alot of people paid off… in the basement.. what about disabled bets? a new vfw long overdue shoulda been built 20 years ago!

    thank god there was no fire people would have died!

  21. Edwardo says:

    From a real estate prospective (dollars and sense) its a bad deal! I would argue this with anybody. The folks at the VFW are getting screwed big time…Let my words go down in the history books…

    Any develepor whould take this deal….The veterans have been screwed enough, please open your eyes here and realize that you could do better. Sober up for a second, put down the miller highlife and realize that this is a bad deal for you guys…..hello?

  22. city puttin squeze on VFW says:

    The city is putting the arm on the veterans/post etc….playing hardball, the games they play…anything to get their way…

  23. Villen13 says:

    LOL, sue! Love it =)

    To Hahahhaahha: Your stereotypical sentiment is absolutely stunning!

    BTW, everyone, not all veterans are old these days. Last I heard the military had not disbanded and In case you’ve been living under a pile of rocks there are a couple of wars going on at the moment. Places like the VFW should be proctected during times when new vets need a place to decompress after fighting for YOUR freedom.

  24. j. connelly says:

    I believe “Tom B” is correct…the deal the developers offered the Vet’s Post is a ripoff. The Vets need to cancel the deal & get a better lawyer to represent them. The Vet’s are being used by the developer. Shame on the developer.

    All these developers want special deals & sweetheart tax deals…The taxpayers can well do without these con men and seek out developers that will pay their fair share.

  25. sue says:

    I don’t believe anything coming from the city. The laws are enforced when it suits them. And the fire department has been complicit in skirting the laws on behalf of the city when it benefits a development deal, I’ve seen this firsthand. I suspect the city is leaning on the VFW due to this development deal. The VFW is being blackmailed, pure and simple.

  26. ED says:

    I don’t know why this contractor doesn’t go 40B and put 60 units on this site and by-pass local boards.

  27. Don't blame "the neighbors" says:

    I live near the dilboy post. It saddens me that they have been shut down and hope that they can make it past this bad episode. SOme have posted very insightful comments here, much smarter than over at livejournal. As you guys have figured out, this story is much more complicated than some would have you believe.

    @ Ron Newman — you and others are making a mistake by generalizing about “the neighbors” as though we think with one brain and act as a unit. What triggered this unfortunate situation was one person making a couple of phone calls, not some master strategy that all the neighbors collectively decided on. Very few people in the neighborhood had any idea that this person was going to do this.

    So why did they do it? I think that person was just fed up with watching the dilboy get away with all of this illegal and under the table stuff while the city accommodated it. MOst people don’t see this shady side of the post, but there is a lot of funny business going on there. They run a big commercial parking lot under the table, costing the city $15 k annual in unpaid licensing fees and property taxes. For decades, they rented out the hall for parties with live bands and dj even though they lacked the licenses to do so legally.

    The fire stuff is the same. The new sprinkler laws took effect in 04-05 and soon after that someone fudged the occupancy numbers on their inspection certificate, reducing the legal occupancy in the basement bar from 100 to 0. God forbid if anyone slips and falls down there, because the insurance company won’t pay any claim when they find out that the bar is operating in a space with no legal occupancy. All of this stuff, and putting up these cinderblock walls , it’s just a way to avoid the new fire regs, and until a month ago the city seems to have been helping them get away with it.

    People will disagree on how important this stuff is. Maybe this crap happens at lots of clubs and posts in the city. But whether you agree or disagree with someone’s decision to blow the whistle on this stuff, you can’t say that the dilboy got framed.

    One quick bit on the private investigator stuff. For those who didn’t know this, in september the dilboy hired a private investigator to prowl around the streets spying on the neighbors who have been opposing the project. He has threatened people with bogus lawsuits and has sent creepy letters to people to scare them. He isn’t some lone wolf maverick, he was engaged by the dilboy management to do this.. They even brag about it in the latest article on somerville patch. It’s all bush league intimidation stuff designed to scare neighbors away from opposing the project. And it’s totally illegal too.

    Bottom line: I feel bad for all of the members, who are the real victims here. They have lost their post, and as others have said they are being screwed by the developer and the city. But I’d say they’re also being let down by the leadership of the post who has really driven the bus off the road. They joined forces with a bad developer knowing full well that the neighborhood had been fighting their crappy projects since 2002 and would probably fight this new project too, another attempt to slap together the biggest, ugliest condo building they could possibly get away with. They decided to run all of these unlicensed side operations to make extra money under the table. They tried to hide from the fire safety regs rather than address it up front. And this private investigator stuff is totally wrong and could get them into even bigger trouble.

    I wish the best to all of the dilboy vets who I know are good people, solid people. I hope the post fixes this mess and gets back up and running soon. In the meantime, please don’t dump the blame all on “the neighbors” for this regrettable situation.

  28. HahahhaHHAhhahAHAHA says:

    Smedley D. Butler,

    First and foremost I never said a thing about vets, did I? I was referring to the usual suspects that comment on this site.

    You also incorrectly assumed that my name inferred that I was laughing at you. I was not. My father was a vet who did three tours in Vietnam. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the veterans and current members of our Armed Forces.

    I do however have a problem with people who want every law enforced to the fullest ……..Unless of course it negatively affects them or anything they care about. That is the hypocrisy that I was referencing.

    You would also be incorrect in assuming I am a yuppie. I am just a working class stiff born and bred and currently raising a family in Somerville, Massachusetts.

  29. vet says:

    does this mean the place is closed? I can bring my yard sprinkler nozzle. I trust they still have water right.

    the pressures of living here!!

  30. TomB and Villen are correct says:

    I agree with TomB and the Villen. The post is getting the short end of the stick on this deal. Stay where you are. Host a few veteran fundraisers to fix the place up. Create a board of directors etc and start raising funds to update the post..No reason to sell to those guys. In the long run, you will lose out & have numerous problems with neighbors.. Stop, while you can, and if you cant….stop anyway…judges wont go against vets…

  31. The General says:

    lets “Occupy Dilboy”. Come on down and set up a tent.

  32. Ron Newman says:

    To “Don’t blame”:

    “they rented out the hall for parties with live bands and dj”

    and this is a bad thing why? Such events at the VFW have benefited many good causes over the years. We don’t many rentable halls in the Davis Square area so I am grateful that the VFW has been available for this purpose.

  33. Don't blame "the neighbors" says:

    Ron, regardless of whether or not you are in favor of them hosting those event, wouldn’t you agree that it should be done all legit & above board? The point i was making was that as likeable as the dilboy may be, it looks like a pattern of running it loose with respect to all the laws. I bet some of the members would be uncomfortable with that.

  34. Libertarian says:

    Someone at Dilboy must have forgotten to make their payment to Papa Joe Curtatone.

    Or, could this be related to the fact that SPD cops are always hanging out over there during their shifts?

    Dilboy Post has always been a strong participant in the community – from sponsoring three teams in somerville little league / babe ruth, to community fundraising, to opening their hall for community functions at a very reasonable price. Now they’re getting the shaft because a couple of cronies don’t like showing respect to the men who sacrificed of themselves to fight for our safety.

    Yet, the nasty nasty nasty restaurants in east somerville and other parts of the city escape health inspection because their food is “ethnic”. Total crap.


  35. mike says:

    someone said the chief is a vet, what branch was he in and what were the dates. I don’t remember the chief being in the military.

  36. Marine says:

    The new police chief is not a vet but according to the papers, he spent alot of time over seas. I believe that both deputy chiefs are former Marines.

  37. j. connelly says:

    The article stated the Fire Chief, not the Police Chief. The Fire Chief I believe served in the U.S. Air Force.

  38. Get it Right says:

    Don’t Blame the Neighbors – The Post was exempted from ever having to have an entertainment license. When the law was changed, no one informed the post leadership of this. As a result, many area bars are now out of compliance and will be held to the uniform standard.

    As a member, not a leader there, I take great exception to your implication that “The Post” is some shady entity costing the city huge sums of cash and conducting below-board deals. I’ve been to Post meetings and I can assure you that our dealings are not “shady”. They are visible and voted on by both the Board and the Membership body.

    Get your facts straight before you start smearing my post and our elected leadership.

    And to whomever mentioned a fire having previously happened in that post, when? Not since I’ve been a member.

  39. sue says:

    Why has the Somerville Historical Commission remained quiet on this subject? Shouldn’t they be concerned with the fate of this building?

  40. mike says:

    People believe the fire chief is a vet, did he or not serve, does anyone really know?

  41. vet says:

    what does being a veteran have to do with it????

    to serve and protect!!!and some type oath of office if I recall….

  42. Ron Newman says:

    The Somerville Historic Preservation Commission has jurisdiction only over the exteriors of designated buildings, not the interiors or the buildings’ uses.

  43. Libertarian says:

    When Papa Joe says the post closes, the post closes! This is the most crooked, cash-lined mayor this city has ever known… and that’s saying something. Curtatone belongs in Chelsea.

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