Unchecked: Inside RPS fire inspections
Following the William F. Fox Elementary School fire in February 2022, VPM News obtained and analyzed all available fire inspection records for Richmond’s public schools from 2015–2022. Documentation revealed hundreds of fire code violations and a checkered history when it came to consistent inspections and resolution of fire safety problems — a concerning trend that predates the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by Megan Pauly and Connor Scribner. Photos by Shaban Athuman, Scott Elmquist and Crixell Matthews.
Figures fact-checked by Jonea Gurwitt. Edited by Dave Cantor, Whittney Evans, Dawnthea M. Price Lisco and Elliott Robinson.
Fire code violations by school type
“It may have been done, I just don't have the documentation to prove that.”
A VPM News investigation reveals a history of spotty inspection recordkeeping and long-standing fire code violations.
VPM News analyzed and summarized fire code violations from 2015–2022 based on public records provided by the Richmond Fire Department.