Dartmouth store crammed with books gets more time to meet code

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Dartmouth store crammed with books gets more time to meet code

The owner of a Dartmouth bookstore crammed floor to ceiling with thousands and thousands of volumes has been granted more time to bring his shop up to fire codes.

Well-known used book seller John Doull, owner of Doull's Books, came under the scrutiny of fire inspectors worried huge stacks of books so close to the ceiling would prevent firefighters from dousing flames if there was a fire.

In November, he was given 67 days to comply with their orders.

Doull satisfied many of the requests, but appealed to Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board for more time so he could build new walls in his shop where more shelves could be placed. 

No permit yet

The issue is many of his books are on so-called "island shelves," which don't touch walls, and are in violation of code when stacks near the ceiling. Building more walls would allow him to place bookshelves against them to comply with the National Fire Code of Canada.

Doull submitted an application for a building permit on Jan. 16 but it has not yet been obtained.

The board's decision presented a number of possible solutions to the stacked books issue. It said the fire department should first determine whether, if all books are removed from the top of the island shelves, firefighters would be allowed in the building during a blaze.

If so, Doull will have 28 days to remove the books and a fire inspector will review his renovation plans to build new walls. If those plans are preliminarily approved, Doull has until July 4 to do the renovations, which can be inspected and may be subject to more orders, according to the decision.