City Museum, one of the most unique attractions in the area, has been sued twenty-six by visitors claiming they suffered personal injuries during their time there. Today, I reviewed state and local inspection records that show the museum has also been cited repeatedly for recent code violations.
We asked Frank Oswald, St. Louis' acting Building Commissioner, for copies of recent reports from city fire and safety inspections. Those reports show City Museum had violations that include improper location of emergency lights and lack of accessable disabled parking, which is described as a "major violation." All of those violations were corrected. Oswald says City Museum has also built potentially dangerous exhibits without permits, including the school bus on the roof. Oswald told me it took the city about a month to have an engineer confirm that the bus was stable.
State inspection reports found that City Museum repeatedly failed to have warning signs around potential dangerous exhibits. Inspectors also found rough spots on two slides, including metal slag from a weld. The repair work was finished in a few days. Now, the state Fire Marshal is reviewing personal injury cases to make sure City Museum has properly reported serious injuries on rides regulated by the state.
In an e-mail to News 4, Missouri Fire Marshal Randy Cole wrote..."the penalty is a Class A misdemeanor----statute of limitation on a misdemeanor is one year. So, if an incident occurred more than one year ago no potential criminal charge could be sought." Four months ago, the Fire Marshal's office received a Notice of Deposition in the case of Jon Hodge vs City Museum LLC. The Fire Marshal's office contacted the law firm representing Hodge, who was allegedly hurt on the "tuba slide," an exhibit regulated by the Fire Marshal. A state investigator attempted to learn more about the case, but "no details of the incident were provided to us at that time so no factual determination could be made in relation to a possible law violation."
In 2006, the Fire Marshal learned that City Museum was operating amusement type rides without informing state officials. Inspectors examined the rides and issued permits after City Museum had already started operating them. Cole told me he reviewed the City Museum file last week to ensure it was in compliance. "The review of the file indicated the rides were currently in compliance," he wrote.Cole told me he was going to review personal injury cases filed against the museum. However, it appears all of those cases may involve incidents that are more than a year old.
Bob Cassilly, the founder/owner of City Museum, was unavailable for comment. The museum director refused to comment for this story.