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 "maintenance" ...

  • Atmos gas explosion

    “Atmos gas explosion” is a WFAA investigation into lax regulatory oversight and shoddy maintenance of Atmos Energy, a natural gas supplier, that puts millions of North Texas residents in continued danger. The series of stories was triggered by a fatal natural gas home explosion that killed a 12-year-old girl.
  • Aging aircraft and hidden threats

    While the Navy spent big over the past 20 years on experimental mine hunting technology that may never work, it stopped investing in its mine-hunting Sea Dragon helicopters, which have spent the better part of a year grounded due to mechanical problems after a series of deadly accidents. Now the service is trying to play catch-up. The Sea Dragon’s troubles are a symptom of a much larger problem: America’s military aircraft have been flown hard during 15 years of combat in the Middle East, and nearly all of their next-generation replacements are years behind schedule and millions over budget. The result: Much of the nation’s fleet is flying far longer than planned and in need of critical maintenance to keep them going. Their investigation found that the United State's Marine and Navy aircraft fleet has dismal readiness rates, as evidenced in an internal report obtained by the IRP and Virginian-Pilot. They examine what effect this has on our military's ability to counter the threat of sea mines.
  • Frankenstein Guardrails

    The FOX31 Denver’s investigative unit discovered Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews assembling guardrail systems with mix-and-match parts from competing manufacturers. By “Frankensteining” already questionable end-cap terminals, with incompatible rails, the state had been creating serious road safety hazards for years. Within a week of the revelation, the Federal Highway Administration ordered a nationwide warning and Colorado began inspecting every guardrail system in the state (42,000 end-cap terminals/21,000 guardrail systems), repairing hundreds of dangerous installation errors.
  • Historic Flood: Houston’s Emergency Response

    Within days of historic flooding that left 8 people dead and parts of Houston devastated, the KPRC investigative team began digging for answers on the city’s emergency response to the hardest hit areas. Our primary focus started with the deaths of 3 citizens who were thrown into raging flood waters when a fire department rescue boat capsized. Our Open Records Request for the boat’s maintenance logs and emergency communications during that rescue yielded a shocking discovery about how unprepared firefighters were for this severe weather event. https://youtu.be/nDKfvSiujpI
  • PSTA-Driving Outside the Lines

    An Investigation into the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority showing it knowingly created an illegal plan to use a $354,000 Homeland Security Grant to promote a tax increase. As we got deeper into looking at the agency we found maintenance problems the agency tried to cover up and lie about and drivers on the road who should not have been behind the wheel
  • Trains Plus Crude Oil Equals Trouble Down the Track

    The project represents a yearlong examination of the response to safety problems associated with a massive and sudden increase in crude oil transported by rail. It found that government and industry had failed to identify and correct safety gaps in the rail system, including the inspection and maintenance of track and bridges and the design of the tank cars carrying the oil. It also showed that government efforts to better inform local emergency response personnel still left them in the dark on some types of crude oil moved by rail and on smaller shipments. Additionally, the project detailed efforts by railroads and some states to keep even limited information about crude oil trains out of public view.
  • TriMet Security Secrets

    KATU ‘s On Your Side Investigators face off against the Transportation Security Administration to protect the public’s right to know whether security cameras safeguarding our nation’s mass transit systems actually work. The three month battle – fought in court and on camera, from Portland to Washington, DC - challenged transit officials’ blanket claim that the TSA had classified all camera maintenance and inspection records as ‘SSI’ – Sensitive Security Information, and thus exempt from public record and FOI requests. KATU’s reporting also rewrote the rules for which documents can and can’t be classified as SSI – resulting in a win for public safety, accountability and government transparency – not just in Portland, but for the entire country.
  • Corruption in Iraq

    Before the Iraqi district of Sinjar in Ninewa province fell into the hands of the Islamic State, foul drinking water was making people sick with preventable diseases. The U.S. tried to fix the problem by digging wells and treatment facilities, but poor oversight and shoddy work from contractors left the area no better than it had started, despite millions of dollars spent in reconstruction money. An investigation into Iraqi efforts to fix the problem after the U.S. withdrew showed that projects remained unfinished, but money for maintenance and fuel continued to pour into the pockets of local officials. In an area where extremists use frustration over corruption to recruit followers. the implications of this corruption couldn’t be more serious.
  • Escalator rules fall short — even after two severe accidents

    Within a five-month period in Washington state there were two major escalator accidents. In one, a escalator collapsed and injured seven mallgoers, while in the other a man was strangled in an escalator in Seattle. A News Tribune investigation found that even after the state implemented new escalator maintenance protocols, one-quarter of Washington’s escalators still had known safety problems that had never been corrected. The state was also falling down on its duties to inspect escalators. While the state is supposed to complete safety inspections of escalators annually, inspectors visited fewer than 1/3 of escalators in 2013. The newspaper also discovered that more than 40 percent of state-inspected escalators may lack a safety feature that could have saved the life of the man who was strangled by the Seattle escalator.
  • How NJ Transit Failed Sandy's Test

    On the weekend before Sandy thundered into New Jersey, transit officials studied a map showing bright green and orange blocks. On the map, the area where most New Jersey Transit trains were being stored showed up as orange – or dry. So keeping the trains in its centrally-located Meadows Maintenance Complex and the nearby Hoboken yards seemed prudent. And it might have been a good plan. Except the numbers New Jersey Transit used to create the map were wrong. If officials had entered the right numbers, they would have predicted what actually happened: a storm surge that engulfed hundreds of rail cars, some of them brand new, costing over $120 million in damage and thrusting the system’s passengers into months of frustrating delays. But the fate of NJ Transit’s trains – over a quarter of the agency’s fleet - didn’t just hang on one set of wrong inputs. It followed years of missed warnings, failures to plan, and lack of coordination under Governor Chris Christie, who has expressed ambivalence about preparing for climate change while repeatedly warning New Jerseyans not to underestimate the dangers of severe storms.