Permits, inspections also questioned

These stories originally appeared on-air on WLOS-TV and are published by Carolina Public Press through a content-sharing agreement with the ABC affiliate, which is based in Asheville.

By Mike Mason

A News 13 investigation exposes serious fire code violations at Buncombe County schools. We found violations have been reported year after year and now a former electrician for the school district is blowing the whistle, claiming school officials told him not to pull the required permits and life safety issues were not inspected. Buncombe County has 42 public schools and more than 25,000 students. We inspected hundreds of safety records at every school for the past 2 years and we uncovered disturbing details that led up to this alarming failure.As day breaks over Buncombe County, we begin our busy lives. Parents send their kids off to school and the last thing they should have to worry about is their child’s safety. But a News 13 investigation found maybe they should.

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Last night we told you about dozens of fire code violations reported year after year. Now, we’ve uncovered more work that was done at schools without the proper permits and without the proper inspections for years. Contractors are the ones facing stiff penalties but they say school officials are also to blame. For years, the district has hired private contractors to do construction and install fire alarms. Since permits weren’t pulled, the licenses of more than a dozen contractors are on the line and they’re speaking out saying school officials are the ones who told them to break the rules.

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WLOS ABC 13 is the ABC affiliate based in Asheville, N.C., and covers much of Western North Carolina. Check your local listings for news programming, or visit

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