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Sparks fly over illegal fire alarm system

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SHERRY LONG
The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - A fire alarm system was removed from City Hall last week after a state fire marshal inspector confirmed the recently-installed system was not up to state fire codes.

After learning the system was 'illegally installed' in city hall, Rural Fire District #6 President Steve Salmon said he explained the violations to Ferris City Secretary Alice Holloway.

Salmon said he couldn't get anyone's assistance in the matter, so he contacted the state fire marshal's office in Austin.

Salmon's private alarm company, M.A.C. Alarms, and Knight Security Systems of Dallas submitted bids for the fire alarm system last March, but the council put it off until budget time and a decision could be made whether to include the Ferris Library.

He said he no longer wants the contract to install a system himself in city hall.

'I just want it installed by the law and codes of Texas,' Salmon said in a written statement.

Holloway said she called several other security system installers to find the best price and decided on BAT Fire and Security of Waxahachie.

'We just wanted something

simple and affordable,' Holloway said. 'We wanted heat sensors and smoke detectors upstairs where the records are.'

She said the city is not required to have an alarm system, due to the size of city hall, but she felt one was necessary to protect records stored in the attic and information at the library.

Holloway said BAT was called to remove the systems the day after they were installed after the city was notified the systems were not up to code.

Holloway said BAT would put a new up-to-code system in city hall soon.

Mayor Jimmie Birdwell said they would have to spend about $1,000 more with BAT to get a compliant system.

'Still, that's a whole lot cheaper than M.A.C.,' said Birdwell. 'My understanding is it will be just as good in this building and in the library as it is in the courtroom ... M.A.C. put in the courtroom.'

Salmon said the most important point is, 'If somebody knowing sells you something that is against the law and they know it's against the law ... you catch them at it ... do you continue to do business with them?'

Salmon was denied a request to appear before the council during their regularly scheduled meeting June 16 to educate the council on state fire laws and codes.

'It's not a council problem, it's an administrative problem. I'm the city administrator,' Birdwell said. 'I'm the day-to-day boss. If people have a problem, then they need to come to me. He didn't call me. Didn't come to see me.'


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