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There was no fire alarm system at the Richmond Schools bus depot

Posted at 3:09 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 18:17:58-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- There was no fire alarm system at the Richmond Schools bus depot, Richmond Public Schools spokesperson Matthew Stanley confirmed Thursday.

"Generally, alarm and suppression systems are the responsibility of landlords to install and maintain," Stanley wrote in an email to CBS 6 Problem Solver Melissa Hipolit. "However, given the age of and lack of specificity in the lease, our legal counsel is further researching the matter."

The owner of the building, Thalhimer Realty Partners, said Richmond Schools was responsible for all maintenance and operations at the building.

A large fire Wednesday burned the building, located at 1903 Chamberlayne Avenue, to the ground.

The Richmond 911 call center had no record of receiving notification from an alarm company about a fire at the Richmond Public Schools bus depot on Wednesday, according to Communications and Marketing analyst Karen Gill with the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications.

It remains unclear whether that building was required to have a fire alarm.

It also remains unclear who would be responsible for the alarm.

"Some OSHA standards specifically state that an employer must install an employee alarm system," Jennifer Rose, with the Virginia Department of Industry and Labor, said.

Rose did not say if this building needed an alarm.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers asked Richmond Fire if there was a fire alarm at this location, and if it dialed 911 to report the fire. Richmond Fire spokesperson Amy Vu said she was looking into it, but as far as we knew the department found out about the fire from people who witnessed it and called 911.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.