Failure of LA High School's Fire Alarm Leads to Fire Watch

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Los Angeles school district was ordered to post fire wardens at a new high school in Northridge because the fire alarm system has been malfunctioning since the school opened in September.

The city fire marshal's office called for the fire watch at the 500-student Valley New High School No. 1 - informally known as CSUN High School - last week after it was disclosed the principal and others have complained for months about the alarm system.

School district building inspection reports show some fire doors wouldn't close and others lacked functioning panic bars.

District officials said there have been two fire wardens on duty at the school 24 hours a day since Jan. 19.

James A. McConnell Jr., head of the district's building program, and other officials said extensive testing showed only minor discrepancies in the alarm system and it was 96 percent in working order.

Assistant Fire Chief Al Hernandez said, however, that city fire officials believe the alarm system "doesn't work to the standard that we want it to: without any errors. We consider it broken."