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Elkton man arrested for allegedly performing fire safety work without a license

Dining and DrinkingRestaurant and Catering Industry

A Cecil County man was served a criminal summons last week in connection with allegedly performing fire safety maintenance at a Bel Air area restaurant without a license, the Office of the State Fire Marshal said Friday.

Thomas G. Williams, 61, of Ambleside Drive in Elkton, who owns Total Resource Fire and Safety, faces a number of charges for work he allegedly did on the grill extinguishing system at the former Bruce Bitner's Cafe & Grill in Campus Hills, according to Fire Marshal's Office news release. The summons was served at Williams' home.

According to the Fire Marshal's Office, deputy fire marshals determined Williams had worked on the grill and serviced fire extinguishers around the restaurant on June 2, even though he allegedly knew he had a revoked license to perform such duties. He also performed service on the kitchen hood, and advised he would return with property the owners had paid for, according to the news release.

"As of this date the property has not been returned," according to the release. "It was also determined the fire extinguishing system would have most likely failed in an actual emergency, causing extensive damage to the restaurant and/or injuring nearby employees."

Williams' work was discovered by a fire safety inspector conducting a use and occupancy inspection on June 11.

Bruce Bitner's closed in late May after 35 years at the Campus Hills location. The owners are retiring and have sold the business, which is being converted into JD's Smokehouse North.

Williams' license was revoked in October 2013 after a business owner filed a complaint and an investigation revealed poor workmanship, disregard for National Fire Protection Association codes and lack of following industry standards, according to the Fire Marshal's Office.

Williams has been charged with two counts of violating a fire prevention title or regulation, acting as a contractor without a license and theft less than $1,000. If convicted, he faces two years in jail, $3,500 in fines or both. The charges are filed in Harford County District Court in Bel Air, where Williams has a trial scheduled on Aug. 14, according to online court records.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is also asking any business that signed a contract with Williams to contact the Northeast Regional Office in Bel Air, 410-836-4844, for a free inspection.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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