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State Fire Marshal’s Office Inspects Orange Co. Schools

4/28/2003

CONTACT: Tami Torres or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE - Four teams of inspectors from the State Fire Marshal's Office will report this week to State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher their findings from a review that began today of alleged fire code violations in certain Orange County public schools. Concerns about specific deficiencies were reported in a letter Friday from county fire officials to the State Fire Marshal's Office.

The teams, each consisting of two state fire code inspectors, began the inspections of 97 schools early this morning. Under state law, county fire inspectors have jurisdiction over the schools' compliance with fire codes, but Orange County Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Daniel Kucik reported in his letter Friday that his office and officials with Orange County Public Schools had reached an impasse over certain findings.

Gallagher will review the state inspectors' findings to determine what action needs to be taken. The State Fire Marshal has the authority - as does the county school board -- to close all or parts of schools if deficiencies put children at risk. Because of the reported impasse, Gallagher now also has the authority to order the schools to conduct repairs as necessary.

The school district and county fire marshal's office have reported that they have been unable to resolve the issues after more than a year of inspections and correspondence.