Public records suggest Fox Elementary fire safety systems had not been inspected in over three years

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As students, parents and staff grapple with the loss of the historic William Fox Elementary in Richmond, 8News has uncovered public records suggesting the school had not received an electrical and fire safety inspection since 2018.

Records show the last inspection recorded before the fire was a routine elevator inspection in 2020. The last comprehensive view of the fire and electrical systems was recorded in August 2018.

The inspection on August 28, 2018 came at the end of a series of five other inspections that month, of which three were marked “partial pass” and two were marked “failed.” The reasons given shed little light on the reason the school didn’t make the grade.

One “failed” inspection reads “work does not match drawings.” A partial pass carries the comment “Highlighted E601. 5 lights.” Few other details are provided in the city’s public records.

Under Virginia law, local school boards determine how often school buildings are inspected, and are required to “maintain records of regular safety, health, and fire inspections that have been conducted and certified by local health and fire departments.”

In an interview with 8News, school board member Jonathon Young said the division’s policy is that school fire and electrical systems be inspected every year. Young said William Fox Elementary had been regularly inspected – but could not provide 8News with copies of those reports.

8News also reached out to the Richmond Fire Department to request copies of the inspection reports, but have not yet received a formal response.

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