December 17, 2002
So why did it take 90 minutes for anything to be done about the school fire? 911 records show the alarm sounded at Dougherty Middle School at 12:30 A.M. Monday. But it was an hour and a half later before firefighters were called and then only because a passerby spotted smoke and called them. When the alarm sounded 911 dispatch notified the Dougherty Middle School Resource Officer.
The big question is what happened after he was called? Did he go to the school? Did he check out the alarm? No one with the school system or police department will answer these questions. To make matters worse a school video camera did not have any tape.
Principal Billy Brown says, "Since that time I've made a special assignment to a secretary that its her job everyday to place the tape and make sure its running and hopefully straighten out and won't happen again."
School went on as normal this morning although the smell of smoke lingered. The damaged section of the building was closed to students. Tuesday morning, workers were cleaning up and making minor repairs to the emergency door where the criminal broke in. Police are offering a reward leading to the arrest of the arsonist. Sources say investigators suspect a student of setting the fire.
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