The Dallas Morning News reported that hundreds of classrooms in Dallas ISD lack proper fire detectors and smoke alarms. According to the report, the Dallas ISD failed install proper fire alarms in hundreds of portable buildings and classrooms across the district, violating fire codes and putting students in harm’s way.
The potentially dangerous situation has been neglected for several years, as budget-strapped DISD has struggled to find money to fix the problem and the city’s fire department – charged with enforcing the fire code – has tolerated delays, records show.
The portable classrooms have battery operated smoke detectors, but fire safety experts warn that is not safety enough and exposes the children to fire risks. School officials refuse to allocate the resources necessary for the safety upgrades.
About 650 portables still need permanent fire-alarm protection. They are on 111 DISD campuses, with more in southern Dallas than other areas of the city.
Because of budget and staff constraints, it will take about three years to address those portables, said Joel Falcon, executive director of maintenance services at DISD, which oversees repairs of portables.
"We’ve got a resource issue. We just don’t have enough manpower," he said. It cost $204,266 to address the 154 portables this year, said Falcon, and $910,000 more would be needed to connect the remaining portables to fire alarms.
"It’s just quite insane," David Hinojosa said. "If they [DISD officials] think they don’t have money now … wait until an accident happens and some of these kids, some of the teachers, are harmed. And then they’ll really be deep into a lawsuit. And the fire department might be involved as well."
Concerned parents can get more information on what they can do about this serious safety problem by clicking here.
What do you think? Should Dallas ISD immediately upgrade its fire safety equipment. Would you send your child into one of these classrooms?
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.