WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Warwick Superintendent Philip Thornton confirmed Thursday that the fire alarm system in Norwood Elementary failed about a month ago. Holliman Elementary also partially failed on the same day, February 24.
Thornton contacted the Fire Marshall, Fire Chief, and Alarm Superintendent immediately. Parents, students, and teachers, though, were left in the dark.
“We did immediately put out a request for a replacement. It’s not a plug and play situation, you have to actually design and build the fire alarm system,” explained Thornton.
Currently, as a fire watch plan, a firefighter walks the school grounds every hour to make sure everyone is safe.
“In speaking with the fire department they have ensured us that following this protocol that the school is safe and we can operate every day and the students and teachers are safe,” said Thornton.
He stated that parents and teachers should have been notified earlier, but did not go into detail.
According to City Councilor Jeremy Rix, the City Council was also unaware of the failure. He is thankful that nothing happened while no one knew about the system.
“We can’t have this happen, this is gross negligence where teachers and parents are not informed. That is completely unacceptable,” Rix said.
Parents shared concern. Julie Crosby knows how important working fire detectors are — she is a fire victim herself.
She shared, “That fire alarm is what saved our lives. A smoke alarm saved our lives.”