The state fire marshal’s office is struggling to comply with the state law that requires a fire inspection of every Iowa school every two years. Jeff Quigle, the new supervisor of fire inspectors, says the office has acquired too many other duties, and doesn’t have enough inspectors to handle the volume of work inspecting facilities that aren’t schools. Quigle says a lot of new assisted living centers have been built in the state, requiring a fire inspection, and despite the economic downturn, the overall pace of new home and business construction in Iowa continues to grow, and that, again, adds more fire inspect. Quigle says a backlog in school inspections developed partly because of staffing problems. There are 10 state fire marshal inspectors stationed throughout the state, and two “specialty” inspectors who work out of the Des Moines office. Quigle says he’s developing a computer data base to better track fire inspections, and schools applying for federal grants that help correct fire code deficiencies are being given priority.
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