People visiting Danbury City Hall can no longer use the middle or back entrance, because the city closed those doors to improve security.
Closing the stairwells was designed to protect city workers, not endanger them. Workers can still use those doors and stairwells, but the change gives the public only the front door to enter or leave city hall.
"The city staff wanted to feel safer," said Rick Palanzo, superintendent of public buildings. Palanza said he met with police officers at city hall and talked over security. They brought Fire Marshal Jimmy Johnson into the conversation.
"I'm positive it's legal. Jimmy Johnson approved it," Palanzo said.
Phil Curran, retired Danbury fire chief and a member of the Danbury City Council, said Tuesday night he didn't like the locked doors at all. Tuesday night was the first time many members of the city council saw the changes. Curran said the locks are dangerous in case of a fire, blocking an exit. The security issue and the fire issue forced the city to give the locks a second look Wednesday.
Acting Fire Marshal Marilyn Gillotti said she is looking into it, and Deputy Fire Chief TJ Wiedl said he would call former Fire Marshal Jimmy Johnson later Wednesday to see what he knows about the door locks.
Johnson said he talked to the police and Public Buildings Superintendent Rick Palanzo about the locks a year ago. He said at that time he agreed to the locks because once the alarm sounds, the doors unlock.
Johnson said making the right decision is important, so the city asked the state Fire Marshal to review the lock decision.
"This isn't anything we're fooling around with. They'll be down within a day or two to review it," Johnson said.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton called the state Fire Marshal the city's "Triple Check," to make sure it made the right decision.