Errors, negligence made fire worse - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Errors, negligence made fire worse

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December 23, 2002

Albany-- The School System's investigation into the arson at Dougherty Middle School shows human error and negligence contributed to the crime.

Several windows and a door were left unlocked, allowing the arsonist to walk right in the school.

There was no tape in surveillance equipment that could have caught the arsonist on video.

Boxes of textbooks that were set on fire had been sitting in front of an emergency exit since Thanksgiving-- a major fire hazard.

And the on-call school security officer did not respond to the 911 dispatch call alerting him of the break-in, but went back to sleep.

"We are going to ensure that procedures are followed, smarten up our custodial staff, all the windows and doors unlocked, books not left in fire risk and on-call security answers right away," said Financial Director Robert Lloyd.

The on-call security officer, Lt. James Williams who is also a detective with the Albany Police Department, will be verbally reprimanded for not responding to the dispatch call Monday morning.

From here on out, school officials will contact on-call security to make sure they are alert and ready to work.

posted at 5:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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