McHenry IHOP closed for nonworking fire suppression system, other fire code violations

Pipe burst in January, city and fire officials said

Chief Rudy Horist shows how piping attached to a fire truck's exhaust system helps keep diesel fumes, a known carcinogen, from filtering into the air at McHenry Township Fire Protection District's Station 1 on Jan. 23, 2023.

McHenry’s IHOP restaurant has been red-tagged by the city, effectively condemning the building, after it failed a McHenry County Fire Protection District inspection last week.

The restaurant will remain closed until those repairs are made, said Ross Polerecky, McHenry community development director.

The fire suppression system at the restaurant, at 4228 W. Elm St., has been non-functional since a pipe in the building froze and burst on Jan. 23, according to a letter from the fire district sent Friday to the city, Polerecky said. According to that letter, the restaurant’s franchise owner, Julio Solano, contacted a sprinkler company to make repairs after the pipe burst.

“Since then, despite the sprinkler company’s request, the owner has yet to make any repairs to the system, which has been out of service for five months,” according to the letter from Brent Innes, the director of Fire Prevention Bureau for the district.

The sprinkler company contact the fire protection district on Friday, informing them “they will no longer work with the owner at that their system has major deficiencies and is out of service,” the letter states.

During a re-inspection, Innes wrote, he also found combustible storage in the sprinkler room, an out-of-service ceiling heater and charred cardboard near a portable heater, bushes blocking the fire department connector outside the building, corrosion in and improper placement of fire sprinkler heads and nonworking emergency and exit sign lights. The fire alarm system also “hasn’t been inspected or tested for two years,” Innes wrote.

Attempts to reach the holder of the IHOP franchise were unsuccessful. In an emailed reply to questions, an IHOP corporate media spokesperson wrote: “There was an issue at that IHOP location due to a frozen pipe situation from earlier in the year, but it is currently being addressed by the franchisee and the franchisee aims to fix it within the next few days.”

Have a Question about this article?