COLUMBIA, N.C. (WNCT) — North Carolina requires every school receive two inspections a year by an appointed fire marshal, but Tyrrell County’s main fire marshal retired in December, causing inspections this school year to be delayed.
“Inspections would normally be done during the first 10 or 15 days of the school year,” said Rhett White, Columbia town manager. “That didn’t happen this year.”
The town of Columbia hosts three schools; an elementary, middle and high school. All three were due for inspections in July.
That includes checking fire alarms, accessible doorways and well-illuminated exits signs.
White said the town enlisted help from neighboring counties but was originally unsure if the inspectors possessed the necessary qualifications.
“We learned this morning from the state fire marshal’s office that the inspector with the level two license is qualified to inspect these buildings,” Rhodes said. “I have talked to him this morning. He will be here at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning to start the inspections of the three schools.
White and the facilities director of Tyrell County Schools said despite the delay, they put student safety first and keep up with standards regardless.
A risk control specialist with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction was on the grounds last Tuesday doing inspections.
There is no word yet on when a new fire marshal inspector will be hired.