Longview Fire Department Warns Against Security Bars

It's part of the landscape of the times we live in... burglar bars.  But the security you may get from security bars, may cost you your life in a fire.

According to Longview Fire Marshall Davis Whitehurst, "There's only a limited amount of time that we have to respond in a life or death situation.  If we're having to make an effort to remove bars with tools and stuff, then that's obviously time you don;t have in a life of death situation".

In Longview, numerous houses have fixed permanent security bars and the problem is that these bars are blocking possible escape routes and it costs an average of 20 lives each year. "In some cases whole families are dying because they cannot exit through the windows that are secured by bars," says Davis.

Firefighter Kevin May has already run into at least one dangerous situation involving bars at a Longview house fire.  He says, "We have to change the way we attack a fire at a home with burglar bars, because we have to be sure we have a way in and out of the structure".

The Longview building code states that security bars are legal if they can be reasonably be removed or opened from the inside. Anyone who has questions about burglar bar safety should call the Longview Fire Department.