MIDLAND, Texas — Over the weekend, five children died in a fire at a home daycare center in Erie, Pennsylvania.The victims were between 8-months-old to 8-years-old.
Midland fire marshals are making sure a tragedy like the one in Erie, does not happen here in the Permian Basin.
Every year, daycare centers in West Texas are required to be inspected by the state and local fire marshals.
Just this year, the Midland Fire Department has already inspected 494 daycare facilities.
"Part of our requirements for daycare's are that most of them will have a working fire alarm system, emergency lighting, and accessible exits," Rocky Guzman, Midland County Fire Marshal, said.
Fire marshals are also looking for smoke detectors in every room, clear and accessible exits and no overcrowding.
"They need to conduct emergency drills, that’s one thing we check when we do our inspection," Guzman said. "So if or when a fire occurs, they've practiced those skills and have an emergency escape plan.“
The deadly daycare fire in Erie only had one smoke detector in the house. The tragedy serves as a reminder to take fire safety seriously.
“I personally don’t have any children but most the guys I do inspections with do," Guzman said. "It’s heartbreaking for them as well as us especially on the prevention side to know that fires are preventable and stuff like that could’ve been avoided.”
Guzman warns parents to double check and make sure their child’s daycare center is licensed and accredited. If it is, that means it is up to code.
“Most of the daycares we deal with they understand the local requirements as well as the state requirements," Guzman said. "Most of them take really good care of their buildings to ensure that their kids are safe.”
Guzman says if you think a daycare facility is not prepared for a fire emergency, to report it to the Midland Fire Department or City of Midland as soon as possible.