Town calls circus trailers uninhabitable
Deeming the trailers unsanitary and unsafe, the town forced about 30 Cole Brothers Circus workers to abandon their sleeping quarters before the group began its three-day stint in the Loring Arena parking lot.
“They're basically metal closets,” said James Starbard of the Board of Health.
Seven mobile homes, at least one of which was windowless, were deemed uninhabitable by state standards. Each now bears “Keep Out” signs. The mobile homes did not have two means of egress nor did they meet square-footage requirements.
The town decided to provide sleeping accommodations inside Loring Arena, where about 30 circus workers will sleep on cots.
On May 30, boards of health throughout the state were sent a letter from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services that outlined the need for inspections of temporary housing for carnivals and fairs.
In that memo, state officials wrote that if a group cannot conform to the state's building standards, then that organization should cease operations or find alternative housing.
Cities and towns that allow circuses are required to perform an inspection.
The housing infraction is the first for Cole Brothers in the state, said Carolyn Rice, a Framingham native who has been performing various circus acts for the past two decades.
She equated the town's decision to force some of the circus workers to sleep in Loring as a form of harassment.
“I grew up wanting to join the circus, and now we're back playing my hometown, and it's like, `What is going on?' “ said Rice. “It doesn't seem very friendly.”
The workers do little in the trailers other than sleep, said Rice. She challenged the idea the sleeping quarters posed any danger.
“After 11 p.m. there's no power, there's no propane, there's no bathrooms,” said Rice. “ The generators shut down at 11 p.m. What's the fire danger?”
Circus proceeds will benefit the town's Recreation Department.
Dan McDonald can be reached at 508-626-4416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.