Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "fire hazard" ...

  • Greek Tragedies

    The University of Illinois has the largest number of Greek chapters in the country, with 4,000 students living in Greek houses. City safety inspectors find hundreds of fire hazards and safety violations in fraternities and sororities at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign each year, yet it can take months before some violations are corrected, inspection documents show. Almost all of the 60 fraternities and sororities inspected in 2012 had violations, many of which included disconnected smoke detectors, overloaded extension cords, broken sprinklers and faulty emergency lights, according to 2012 inspection records. Other violations were for unapproved cooking equipment such as hotplates, pizza ovens and self-heating skillets.
  • Burning Laptops

    Dallas' KVTV investigates overheating laptop batteries, eventually leading to a Consumer Product Safety Commission recall of nearly 10 million batteries due to fire hazards. The station received a tip after a consumer's laptop burst into flames, and the subsequent investigation found that lithium ion laptop batteries were susceptible. Experts asserted that the attempt to pack too much power into such a small device was leading to the overheating. Because there had been relatively few fires, this issue was not widely known, nor were the manufacturers taking steps to improve it. The story is ongoing, as technology continues to evolve.
  • Ford Fires

    The authors investigation showed that the Ford F150 pickup truck was a potential fire hazard due to faulty cruise control switches. Their series of reports also showed that Ford as well as other companies may have known about the problem for the last five years and have hidden it.
  • Fire Hazard: Bush Leaves Nuclear Plants at Risk

    Cusac's investigation looks into fire safety protections at several U.S. nuclear plants, as well as the Bush administration's decision to make fire safety a lax issue. The article points out the fact that this decrease in fire protection comes at the point when Al Qaeda's interests are in targeting unidentified nuclear power plants. From the IRE questionnaire: "This article discovered that the reason the Bush Administration was making such a move was because many plants were already in violation of the law and because the nuclear industry threatened widespread rebellion if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission tried to enforce the law."
  • Convention Center Code Violations

    An investigation by WESH-TV revealed that "riggers at the Orange County Convention Center have been violating fire codes while hanging signs, lights and props for various trade shows. Workers scraped off fireproofing which is designed to protect the steel's integrity during a fire. Experts (WESH-TV) spoke with say compromising the fireproofing is dangerous and needs to be corrected immediately. Convention Center managers acknowledged the problem. The county fire marshal was so concerned he ordered the practice stopped."
  • Camp offenses spoil fun

    "Each summer, 350,000 youngsters attend 380 sleep-over camps across Michigan. The vast majority have a safe, fun time. But records show that state regulators have cited dozens of camps during the past three years for problems ranging from fire hazards and unsafe drinking water to exposed raw sewage and food-safety problems. Counselors have been cited for abusing children and for lax supervision."
  • Fire Prevention 101

    "'Fire Prevention 101' revealed that student housing on college campuses throughout Illinois is filled with fire hazards and fire code violations that could result in deadly fires. Our investigation suggested that lax enforcement of fire codes could make Illinois the site of the next fatal campus fire, and just one month after our story aired, a student died in a fraternity house fire at Milliken University in Decatur, Illinois."
  • UL: Still Safety's Symbol

    The UL symbol is stamped on more than 15 billion products and small appliances a year. Yet troubling incidents and documents from the CPSC indicate that the typical seal of Underwriters Laboratories, the independent testing service that examines appliances and other items to make sure they're are functioning safely, may be little more than decoration.
  • High-Rise Hazards

    The Morning Call reports: "Fire officials agree that sprinklers can save lives and minimize damage. But cost has been a major roadblock to more governments enacting laws mandating their installation."
  • Fire Hazard

    Dateline's story about the faulty fire equipment being used by fire department in Houston. The bad equipment risks the lives of the firefighters and the victims they try to protect. After analyzing service reports, looking at internal fire department documents and talking to firefighters, the authors found the department know of faulty equipment - didn't fix it - and continually sent the bad apparatus out to fires.