A charter school that serves hundreds of students in Pasadena has been ordered to close after fire officials found the school’s building to be dangerous and unsafe, forcing students to go on all-day field trips until the matter is resolved.
The Celerity Exa Charter School at 1530 Elizabeth Street sits on the William Carey International University Campus and serves approximately 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The Pasadena Fire Department investigated the school’s conditions Tuesday after receiving a call from a concerned parent who said that the school was being operated out of the basement of a building that is traditionally used as office space.
According to Pasadena Fire Capt. Anthony Bagan, operating out of a basement is a violation of the California fire code.
Officials found that the school did not have a permit to operate an educational facility there and that the building was not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system or fire alarm system. The school also maintained inadequate exiting.
"The safety of children is our top priority and we take this situation very seriously," Pasadena Fire Marshal Calvin E. Wells said in a statement.
Pasadena Unified School District officials are aware of the closure and are in support of the decision, according to the Pasadena Fire Department.
Parents who spoke with NBC4, however, are not in favor of the closure.
"Absolutely upset," parent Andrew McGraw said. "Because it's putting our children, not only in danger, but it's jeopardizing their education.
The school is chartered by PUSD and operated by Celerity Educational Group. Celerity Educational Group oversees charter schools in Southern California, Ohio, Florida and Louisiana.
The students will be taking field trips until the safety concerns are sorted out.
A school district board meeting will be held Thursday. Some parents told NBC4 they will be there to protest.