BALTIMORE - Bolts on exit doors and padlocks through the bolts -- students at Maritime Industries Academy say that was just a reality inside this school for every door but the main entrance.
It is a giant fire hazard even parents didn't know about.
"If there's a fire, they wouldn’t be able to get out. [Did you even know about it?] No, I didn't know. I would have called the school and complained and went to the school board and asked for them to take them off," said parent Chevonne Bolding.
Today it wasn't the school board sawing and unscrewing the bolts off the doors of the school, it was by direct order of the Baltimore City Fire Marshal.
After ABC2 News uncovered the padlocked doors yesterday, the Baltimore Fire Department made it abundantly clear to principal Tawney Manning that the locks preventing the use of the doors is a critical breach of any fire safety code anywhere.
"To make sure that the doors are not padlocked and also other aspects of the fire code and to comply with them,” said the Baltimore City Fire Marshal, Deputy Chief Shawn Belton.
Meanwhile Baltimore City Public Schools has now declined our request for an interview on this subject two days in a row, but it can't exactly claim ignorance on this, Baltimore City Fire Department records show locking exit doors at that specific school has been a problem in the past.
ABC2News Investigators obtained the records detailing past inspections of the Maritime Industries Academy.
In February 2011 a city fire inspector cited a violation in the school prompting him to write “all exit doors must remain unlocked during school hours or when any students are in the building.”
Back then it required immediate compliance or face legal action but now, more than two and a half years later, the school was using bolts and padlocks to lock down exit doors once again.
"Yeah, that is a concern and what I actually ordered my inspectors to go do today was go to 12 random schools to inspect just to make sure the fire code is being complied with," Chief Belton said.
Inspections that started with this morning's visit to Maritime Industries Academy and ordering its staff cut bolts off exit doors.
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