October 5th, 2015 | Category: General News | Leave a comment

Storage Unit Weapons Cache

Self-storage customers at the Extra Space Storage facility in Fontana, CA were surprised to discover that they were sharing the premises with a convicted weapons dealer.

Some of the firearms discovered

Steven Charles Durant was convicted in federal court in South Dakota in 1991 on charges related to unlawful possession and transfer of automatic weapons. He was sentenced to six and a half years in federal prison but escaped from a prison program in 1997 and went on the run for 16 years.

Last week Fontana police responded to a call of a suspicious person and vehicle and found Durant transferring weapons between his storage units and a U-Haul truck. He was immediately arrested and now faces multiple charges of possession of illegal firearms and explosive devices.

Fontana police display the cache

Officers seized more than 300 firearms including AK-47s, military-grade machine guns, spare parts to make illegal weapons and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition.

Two storage units of ammunition

Chief Rod Jones of Fontana Police said “In 34 years I don’t think I have ever seen a seizure such as this”.

Regular readers will know that self-storage unit fires are not uncommon and if you have ever wondered why firefighters proceed with extra caution in storage facilities these two units full of ammunition are one of the reasons.

July 16th, 2015 | Category: General News | Leave a comment

Secure Or An Open Invitation?

Storage Pro Self Storage logoStorage Pros Self Storage has an interesting approach to security. Recently seven storage units were broken into at Storage Pros Wyoming, MI facility. When unit holders asked to see the security camera videos they were told they had not been working since July 2014 having being damaged by a tornado. The same excuse was used for not even having a front gate.

Storage Pro edited webpageUp until the break in Storage Pros Wyoming facility webpage had mislead customers into believing that security was a priority, here is a quote “If you’re concerned about security, we’ve got your back – our location includes around-the-clock video surveillance, keypad accessible doors and motion sensors. We believe that the best kind of storage service is one that is both secure and simple”. Following the break in the text was deleted.

The lesson to be learnt here is that before you rent make sure the security claimed to be in operation does actually work. Don’t be afraid to ask for a demonstration, any responsible facility owner will be proud to show off the precautions they take to protect their customers possessions.

Non-working surveillance cameras are not an unusual occurrence. After 30 units were burglarized at an Atlantic Self Storage location in Jacksonville the Sheriff’s Office found that no video of the thieves or their vehicle existed even though there were video cameras targeting the main gate. It is also quite common for self-storage facilities to use dummy CCTV cameras.

May 28th, 2015 | Category: General News | Leave a comment

Tornado Safe Self-Storage

The tornado that came through southwest Houston early Sunday morning caused extensive damage at Space Saver 9 Self Storage.

Arial view of damageUnits with roofs ripped off

Many storage units were reduced to rubble, some just had the roof ripped of and a few remained intact. Renters turned up to see if they were one of the lucky ones with little or no damage but were not allowed on the property because it was declared unsafe. The owners say that once the site is made safe all unit holders will have to remove their belongings so reconstruction can begin.

Units totally destroyedSearching through what remains after the tornado

If you are in a tornado prone area choose a self-storage facility with buildings constructed using reinforced concrete and steel supports. Avoid metal roofs as shearing winds can peel them off like a sardine can. Ask the facility manager to explain how their units are tornado safe.

Lastly check your insurance to make sure you are covered in the event of loss caused by a tornado.

May 25th, 2015 | Category: Fires | Leave a comment

Another ExtraSpace Storage Fire

The lack of fire sprinklers at most ExtraSpace storage units may save the company money but it can cost their customers a lot more. We have mentioned this before in previous posts, for example – Where Are The Fire Sprinklers?

Florida law requires sprinklers to be installed in every large storage building but in practice can be avoided by building firewalls or small alleys dividing a large building into a number of smaller buildings. Not having a fire suppression system at ExtraSpace Storage, in Hillsborough County resulted in 127 storage unit holders losing all the contents of their units to a 3 alarm fire last week (images below).

A Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesperson said the fire was difficult to extinguish because the storage units shared a common attic allowing the flames to spread easily. Firefighters had to use heavy machinery to peel back the unit roofs so they could attack the fire from the air and the ground. In the course of the action two firefighters received minor injuries and had to be hospitalized.

May 23rd, 2015 | Category: Valet Storage | Leave a comment

Valet Storage Consumer Survey

Valet storage start-ups are opening for business at an increasing rate in major cities all over the world (see our list of US valet storage providers).

One such company, Storrage Inc based in Seattle, have published the results of a survey they conducted this month. Storrage polled 537 consumers in Washington, DC, New York, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles on their opinions about self-storage and valet storage. The age range was 22 to 69, gender was equally split and approximately 43% were living in apartments and 57% in detached single-family homes.

Key findings include:

  • 42% of all respondents said they would rather use valet storage over self-storage, if both were available to them.
  • 50% of women, urban dwellers and millennials said they would rather use valet storage over self-storage, if both were available to them.
  • 65% of respondents who said they would prefer valet storage, have never used self-storage.
  • 53% respondents aged 18-44 cited “convenience” as the main reason for considering valet storage.
  • 62% respondents aged 45-59 cited “convenience” as the main reason for considering valet storage.
  • 68% of respondents who prefer valet storage cited “time savings” as the main reason for considering valet storage.
  • 57% of respondents who prefer valet storage cited “no need to have a car or truck” as the main reason for considering valet storage.

Storrage have produced an infographic (below) to accompany the publication of their findings.

Storrage consumer survey infographic