Fire Chief Says Livingstone College has Fire Hazards -

Fire Chief Says Livingstone College has Fire Hazards

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Salisbury fire chief Robert Parnell is concerned about several fire code violations at Livingstone College.

He wrote two letters to the College's Board of Trustees expressing concern about fire safety on campus, one in February, and one in March.

The first letter explains several instances in which the college is not in compliance with state fire codes, including unsafe and blocked fire exits, failed fire alarms, and students not evacuating a building in fire alarms.

Since April 14, 2010, Livingston College has accumulated $63,152.66 in fines for fire code violations. Chief Parnell's letter says that the college has not paid the fines.

In his March letter to the Board of Trustees, Parnell writes that College President J. Jenkins does not appear to be actively trying to rectify the violations.

Read the full letters from Chief Parnell here.

Parnell and city manager Doug Paris want to meet with the college's Board of Trustees as soon as possible. A campus re-inspection is scheduled for April 24.

 Late Wednesday afternoon Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins, Sr. released the following statement…

As president of Livingstone College, my first and foremost priority is to guarantee a safe learning environment for the Livingstone College family. Throughout my tenure, I have worked cooperatively with various agencies, including the Salisbury Fire Department, to maintain compliance with all rules and regulations.

Having met with Chief Parnell a year ago to discuss the college’s work toward maintaining full compliance with all fire codes, I was elated to receive a follow-up letter from the chief complimenting me and my staff for the hard work that we had done to bring our buildings into compliance with the North Carolina fire codes. The Feb. 11, 2013, letter from Chief Parnell was the only official communication to me from his office related to our working relationship. I was, therefore, dumbfounded and blindsided by a letter that Chief Parnell sent to my Board of Trustees, without copying me, to complain about my cooperation with him in addressing fire code violations.

I arranged a meeting with the chief, pursuant to the letter to the Board of Trustees, and it appeared during the meeting that his main concern was for the college to pay the fines that had been assessed.

It should be noted that the college has clear documentation showing that various violations for which we’d been cited had been abated. The documents clearly show that all of the areas passed the test. So at the time the City Manager, Mr. Doug Paris, made his presentation to the city council on Tuesday, he failed to acknowledge that the majority of all the violations had been resolved. No one at the college, including me, was given advance notice that this very important matter would be discussed during Tuesday’s meeting, and we weren't offered a chance to attend to present our side.

Unfortunately, the presentation by the city manager to the city council was inflammatory and irresponsible given the fact that the code violations to which he referred, as he described over the past four years, had all been resolved with the exception of fire doors that had been ordered to comply with his ruling that they did not meet code standards. The doors in question were the doors installed when the residence hall was built some four years ago. In previous inspections over the past three years, the doors were not cited to be replaced.

My pledge is to continue to work cooperatively with the City of Salisbury to meet all rules and regulations and to continue to advance this institution in a positive manner, and I hope that we can move beyond this misunderstanding to a more productive collaboration.


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