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Unanswered Fire Concerns At Springfield Housing Complex

Sabb CourtSPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — In April, Saab Court residents told us their emergency preparedness was lacking.

“I’ve been here 14 years and haven’t had one,” one resident said.

According to Kevin McDonald, whose 90-year-old mother lives in one of the towers, nothing has changed.

“These buildings are specifically set up for handicap and elderly individuals and i think they need to be a bit more sensitive to that and it just doesn’t seem to be happening,” McDonald said.

After last spring’s fire scare, residents asked for fire drills and easier to read evacuation signs, but nine months later neither has happened. Candra Cripps is the Resident Services Coordinator.

“No fire drill since the spring, how come?” we asked Cripps.

“Right now the announcement on the fire alarm system is for the entire building to evacuate during an emergency,” she said. “That caused a lot of confusion when there was an incident.”

Cripps says they are working with their alarm company to install a new system that will instruct residents to evacuate only on the floors affected by the emergency. She says it will be safer and easier, but what about those hard to read evacuation plans?

“Those will be changed as well,” Cripps said. “That’s something we are working on with the fire department.”

The Housing Authority has updated a list of which residents firefighters would have to rescue in any emergency. McDonald says it’s progress but residents like his grandmother need the other safeguards, too.

“The Housing Authority will say yes we are going to do such and such and such but in reality it never gets done,” McDonald said. “We’re working on it, we’re working on it, we’re working on it to the point where people probably stop thinking about it.”

Cripps says authorities are working with fire department officials and hope to have all the changes in place in three months.

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