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While investigating another fire in a four-story San Pablo Avenue halfway house in which four people died on March 27, this news organization also uncovered that a software program used by the fire department to make referrals does not work. A firefighter who had been in the building in 2015 marked the referral box on his online report, but nothing was done because it didn’t get transmitted by the faulty software. Fire officials are now blaming flaws in the OneStep software database program and a lack of staff as the reasons referred properties go unnoticed.

Since 2011, Oakland firefighters have made 879 referrals at properties they found with fire safety issues and needing an inspection, Only 183 (21 percent) of those were ever inspected, often months or years later, Referrals from January 2011 to March 2017, Dot colors: Red=Artist collective, Green=Commercial, Blue=Residential, Yellow=Other, The analysis how much do pointe shoes cost by this news organization found that there were fires in 15 other buildings where a referral was made but no inspection occurred, The blazes ranged from minor stove fires to a torched church and machinery business as well as a hazardous materials incident..

One of those fires involved a vacant convalescent home on Bancroft Avenue in East Oakland. It had been flagged with a referral in February 2016, but no one got there before the building, wedged between an apartment complex and a house, burned early on the morning of Dec. 11, some 10 months later. A man who lives next door with his sister recalled the two-alarm blaze, which forced him to flee his home as flames came within feet of his residence. “It was scary,” said the man, who would only give his name as Sebastian. Next door, burned junk, including charred wheelchairs, was piled in front of the scorched building, its windows covered with plywood. More than seven months after the fire, with the cause still undetermined, the smell of burned building materials lingered as the building awaits demolition.

“This building has burned at least three times in the past and been red-tagged and condemned,” Oakland Fire Lt, Ryan Meineke wrote in his report of the December fire, “I called for a board up crew and the city building inspector again.”, The report noted the building’s sprinkler system failed to operate because it was turned off, how much do pointe shoes cost Asked if the fire department’s failure to inspect the building worried him, Sebastian replied, “It does, I didn’t know about that..

“I guess this is Oakland,” he added. “You can’t really expect it.”. Firefighters can make referrals for a variety of reasons. They may notice something amiss during a medical call to a building, for example. Often, they make the referrals for additional scrutiny during routine, city-required inspections of commercial properties and state-required inspections of apartment buildings, medical facilities and schools. Ideally, those referrals lead to visits from civilian fire inspectors, well-versed in the fire code, who conduct a more thorough investigation, forcing an owner to correct violations or shut the building down.

Fire department sources said the referrals are made only for serious problems that could start fires or impede people fleeing a blaze, Such problems include a lack of sprinklers, smoke detectors, or fire extinguishers; improperly marked or inaccessible emergency exits; or improperly stored how much do pointe shoes cost flammable materials, “If referrals are coming from line firefighters … that should be top priority,” said Mark Grissom, a former city inspector who is now a wildlands firefighter for the federal government, “That should be inspected by a competent inspector within 24 to 48 hours..

“It’s totally shocking…. I would not be surprised if there’s another major fire in Oakland down in the flats or in the hills before all this is settled,” Grissom added. Interim fire Chief Darin White would not agree to an interview but did respond via email. White blamed the lack of staff in the fire department and fire-prevention bureau for the failure to perform timely inspections and for the department not upgrading the software. “We are addressing these issues in part through the adoption of the new Accela data management platform and by building in backup redundancies as we strategically grow our staff,” he wrote. “The city has retained a consulting firm to assess inspection processes, and replacing the database is also a part of overall system improvements.”.

Fire Marshal Miguel Trujillo, head of the fire prevention services, did not return multiple messages, Neither a statement by the fire chief, nor one made on his behalf by a spokesman, directly addressed what inspection data show: Hundreds of referrals made as many as six years how much do pointe shoes cost ago were ignored or lost, Six senior department officers, all lieutenants and captains, each made more than 40 referrals, topped by Capt, Sean Laffan, who made 63, Laffan didn’t return messages, Before the San Pablo Avenue fire, Laffan exchanged emails with assistant fire marshal Maria Sabatini, who explained that there’s an ongoing miscommunication between firefighters and inspectors on how to properly refer buildings for inspection..

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