CSLB Issues New Consumer Alert Against Fire Protection Company
Board concerned that company continues to operate despite suspended licenses
Last Thursday, July 16, 2009, Tulare County Superior Court Judge Kathryn T. Montejano suspended the state contractor license for American Fire Protection (#726110), as well as the company's business license and the fire extinguisher service licenses of Danny Victor Williams, 45, of Camarillo and Ken Gordon Speck, 46, of Exeter.
Williams and Speck each face more than 50 counts of failure to maintain a proper fire suppression system, theft, diversion of construction funds, conspiracy and violations of the state fire code. It is believed that representatives of "American Fire Protection" have been using high-pressure sales tactics and deceptive methods to convince business owners to buy their services. Their targets include minority and immigrant businesses, where they have even threatened deportation if not allowed to do work. Other methods include:
- Wearing uniforms with patches similar to those worn by fire department staff.
- Claiming they are fire marshals and authorized to close the business if not allowed to do an inspection of the fire protection systems and make subsequent repairs.
- Claiming they are at a business to provide service on extinguishers or hood duct systems that have previously been serviced by another company.
Investigators believe the company has continued to operate even after a temporary restraining order was put in place last December, ordering the company to stop impersonating fire personnel and making untrue statements to sell fire protection services.
CSLB is warning consumers and businesses across California to watch out for anyone coming to their offices, stores or restaurants to service their fire extinguishers, to perform service on the hood and duct systems over cooking areas, or to conduct maintenance on automatic sprinkler systems.
"We've got evidence that this company has continued to bully individuals and businesses, and may become even more aggressive," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Their shoddy work has put human lives in danger, and property at risk should fire break out."
Anyone who has contracted with "American Fire Protection" is urged to contact the Tulare County District Attorney's Office at (559) 624-1054.
Consumers should also be aware that there are other companies with a similar name. These companies are not the subject of this investigation. This Consumer Alert only involves "American Fire Protection," (#726110).
In 2009, CSLB, which operates under the umbrella of the Department of Consumer Affairs, marks its 80th anniversary of protecting consumers by regulating California's construction industry. Today CSLB licenses more than 316,000 contractors. In any given year, complaints are filed against only 3% of licensed contractors. In fiscal year 2007-08, the CSLB helped consumers recover $35.2 million in ordered restitution.
Photo Samples from American Fire Protection
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