RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – It is reported that the fire alarm system at the now-burned Fox Elementary School has eliminated a vital set of numbers needed to notify authorities – city code 8-0-4.
In a timeline shared by Richmond Fire Department detailing the response Friday night, crews arrived at the school at 9:29 p.m. after a passerby reported an alarm.
However, the RFD said the city’s emergency department had not received a message from the Richmond Alarm Company that their system had worked at the school.
At 9:39 p.m., RFD reported that the Richmond Alarm Company reportedly said there were no active alarms at their end.
In their own schedule, Richmond Public Schools said these vital alarm panels never called the Richmond Alarm Company because 8-0-4 was recently added after Verizon changed the operation, requiring the area code to include local calls.
8News called the emergency company and showed up at their office in Midlat on Tuesday and received no response.
After no one responded at the front, and through the side door two employees outside revealed that the alarm company had been acquired by Johnson Controls, an international security equipment company.
Johnson Controls issued a brief statement to 8News, saying they were “working with the school district and local authorities to support the investigation.”
Given that the school is more than 100 years old, RFD says Fox Elementary has not been equipped with sprinklers, leaving open questions about whether they have been in nine other Richmond schools for more than a century.
Fox Elementary’s parents Beck and Daniel Duvall hope the financial help, including from the state, will help recover and prevent the next disaster.
“Today it was my child’s school, there could be anyone in Richmond, and it should really mobilize us all. We have to be angry and we have to see the changes because these buildings are so old, ”Becca Duvall said.
“We are talking about competing priorities in Richmond’s public schools and in all our schools,” added Daniel Duvall.
8News did ask Johnson Controls and RPS whose responsibility it was to add this zone code 8-0-4 to the alarm system. No one answered.