Firemen To Staff Greenback School

The State Fire Marshals office has placed Greenback School on "fire watch" which requires that firemen must be on site at the school if ten or more people are on the campus. This includes while school is in session, sporting events or any other activity taking place at the school. The state's requirement stems from the failure of some fire codes due largely to poor maintenance. The Loudon county BOE will have thirty days to respond to the fire marshals complaint.

The state mandate for firemen to be present could remain enforce for up to three months with an expected cost to the county of around $50,000.00. The Loudon High School Gymnasium has also been under a similar order for some time.

Firefighters to patrol Greenback School hourly after state inspection results released

By: Taz Painter, Managing Editor WBIB

Greenback School in Loudon County must have firefighters on standby anytime school is in session, after a state fire inspector found several violations.According to Loudon County Director of Schools Edward Headlee, the district received results of an annual fire inspection Monday morning. Headlee said, as a result of the report, six certified firefighters must patrol the building hourly anytime 10 or more people are in the building, until the fire inspector is comfortable with lifting the fire watch.

According to Headlee, the inspector found an abandoned boiler room in an old section of the school that doesn't have a smoke detector or sprinkler. Other violations listed in the report that require immediate corrective action include:

Building occupants (on a 2nd grade portable classroom) were not capable of opening door. County maintenance was instructed to repair door IMMEDIATELY or remove children from building pending repairs. A follow-up inspection will be conducted on Monday December 26 to insure compliance.

Exterior classroom door at room 131 is sticking in jamb and requires excessive force to open.

Exit door at modular classroom and in school suspension is racked in jamb and requires extreme excessive force to open.

Music room exit secured by large barrel bolt lock. FOUND LOCKED DURING FIRE DRILL.

Classroom doors have deadbolt locks which are keyed on the ingress and egress side. Found throughout facility. FOUND LOCKED DURING FIRE DRILL.

Exterior door at room 134 has round graspable type lockset which is hard to twist to release door. Lever required.

Classroom/corridor door at vocational classroom locked with deadbolt type lock keyed both side while classroom was being occupied by students.

Room 132, Exterior exit partially obstructed by furnishings (desks).

Exterior exit at 2nd grade corridor, between library and gym, blocked by storage of large box.

Patio blocks being stored on exit stairs outside 2nd grade out building. Instructed county maintenance to remove blocks. A follow-up will be conducted on 11/26/07 to insure compliance.

Large boxes and furnishings found throughout facility. Excessive amounts of combustible materials present in corridors throughout facility. (plastic trash cans, recyclable materials in plastic trash cans, student back-packs).

Exit access aisles at welding booths in vocational shop blocked by stored equipment and suspended extension cord.

Welding pedestal type table has jagged, sharp edges which extend into exit access aisle at rear door.

Greenback School was closed for two days earlier this month after sewage pipes backed up in the oldest section of the school.

Headlee said he hopes officials can provide funding for a new Greenback School soon.

Click here to read the school's baseline inspection report.

Click here to read the supplemental information.

Firefighters at Greenback school

They will be on duty until code violations addressed and repairs are approved

Hugh G. Willett
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Firefighters will be on duty at Greenback School until numerous fire code violations have been addressed by the school system and the repairs approved by the state Fire Marshal's Office.

It's the second school in Loudon County to be put on fire watch this year. Fire watch means firefighters must be present when the building is occupied.

The Loudon High School auditorium has been on fire watch since the beginning of the school year.

A 20-page annual fire marshal's report on the Greenback School lists dozens of code infractions ranging from minor to serious, said Loudon County school Superintendent Edward Headlee.

"There are a number of issues, at least a couple dozen anyways," Headlee said. "Some can be addressed quickly."

Other issues, such as installing a new fire alarm system in the gymnasium, will require more work. Currently there is no fire alarm or sprinkler system in the gym, which is a violation of state fire code.

Volunteer firefighters from Greenback were stationed at the school last week. At least six firefighters will now be on the premises any time the building is occupied. About 700 students attend the pre-K-12 school.

Greenback parent Lisa Russell spoke at a recent school board meeting, outlining many fire code violations she had discovered while doing her own research at the fire marshal's office.

According to Russell, many of the violations have not been addressed for months since repair requests were made and in some cases not for years, even though the violations have been recorded.

Russell said she is concerned that poor maintenance at Greenback may have impaired the capability of the school's life safety equipment such as sprinklers.

School board member Fred Walker Jr. also spoke up at the same meeting and described an incident where an alarm had gone off at the school at 3 a.m. but was not discovered until the school opened hours later.

The school department has 30 days to respond to the fire marshal's request. If the items have not been repaired by that time, the fire marshal has the option of closing the school until repairs are made.

An OSHA-instigated air quality investigation of several Loudon County schools, including the high school, was completed last week and the school department is still waiting to hear the results of the tests, Headlee said.