Administrators had recently received several complaints from Santa Ana Valley High School staff about a strong smell of gas in a building where an explosion took place Tuesday morning, according to two sources close to the situation, according to the Voice of OC.
The SAUSD is denying any knowledge of complaints about possible gas leaks but if they did know, and did nothing about it, the district could be held liable by Cal/OSHA for willfully and negligently endangering the lives of SAUSD employees at Valley High School, and I would imagine that both the State and County Departments of Education would want to look into this as well – as students’ lives were also put in danger.
The Voice of OC requested to see the district’s boiler maintenance records and District spokeswoman Deidra Powell rudely denied their request, which means that the SAUSD is also violating the the California Public Record Act.
School Districts usually are self-insured – and they participate in risk pools with other School Districts in Joint Powers Authorities. Insurance carriers usually will provide boiler inspections for accounts with property insurance policies in place. I am not sure if the SAUSD has such inspections scheduled by their Joint Powers Authority or if they have contracted out to a third party, but they definitely have to turn the records over to the Voice of OC – and should not drag their heels about this.
This is a serious situation and usually one would expect the District Superintendent to address the public, but the SAUSD is now without a Superintendent as Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana has officially retired. Summer vacation cannot come soon enough for this troubled school district!