KSAT Defenders: NEISD fire alarm techs lack license

KSAT Defenders investigation spurs citywide investigation by fire marshal

Author: April Molina, Investigative Reporter, amolina@ksat.com
Published On: Feb 11 2013 06:03:46 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 11 2013 09:50:37 PM CST
SAN ANTONIO -

A former fire alarm technician contacted the KSAT 12 Defenders to report that the Northeast Independent School District is not in compliance with the local fire code.

Specifically, he referred to the fact that in-house staff of fire alarm technicians, saying they "might have some field background, but they don't have licenses."

The Defenders toured three different NEISD schools as officials inspected the fire alarm panels, primarily to find out who had signed off on the inspections.

After checking with the state fire marshal's office, the Defenders found it was true that many of the district fire alarm techs who signed off on the jobs were not licensed and many of the inspections were done without the district's only licensed tech on-site.

"They had it partially correct that they did have staff that was licensed, but that licensed person has to be at every maintenance that ... is conducted," said San Antonio Fire Chief Earl Crayton.

"For the past 15-years-plus, we have been conducting inspections one way, and the fire marshal's office does review all of our paperwork and has never told us that we need to do anything differently until now," said NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor.

Crayton confirmed he believes it was simply an oversight.

"All of our technicians are certified and we have one licensed person on staff. Now what we're doing is working toward having all of our technicians be licensed on top of their certification," Chancellor said.

The state licensing program also requires techs to have their license renewed annually, which is another step toward ensuring the knowledge of the equipment and the safety of the children.

Crayton reports all other districts in San Antonio hire outside companies who have licensed personnel.

For a list of recent stories April Molina has done, click here.