oversight

Fire Protection and Security at the Denver Federal Center

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-05-19.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                   DOCUMENT RESUME   '   '
02338 -   A1452454   tesjceA4'-1
Fire Protection and Security at the Denver Federal Center.
LCD-77-341; B-125617. May 19, 1977. 14 pp.

Report to Rep. Timothy E. Wirth; by Robert P. Keller, Acting
Comptroller General.
Issue rea: Facilities and Material Management: Operation and
    Maintenance of Facilities (708).
Contact: Logistics and Communications Div.
Budget Function: General Government: eneral Property and
    Records Management (804?.
Organization Concerned: General Services Administration.
Congressional Relevance: Rep. Timothy E. Wirth.

          Tenant agencies in the Denver Federal Center have
dar.,erous housekeeping practices, and half of the space in the
Center does rot hve sprinkler systems. Findings/Conclusions:
The egional Administrator sdid that the tenant agency personnel
were aot interested in f-re-safety courses and that funding for
sprinklers had been hard to obtain. The headquarters officials
sail that the r3gion has the authority to enforce fire-safety
regulations, and should report violators to tenant agency heads
who are responsible for taking disciplinary action. Furthermore,
regional administrators must decide how muh to spend on
sprinklers and coordinate such work with other building repairs.
The four officers of the Federal Protective Srvice protecting
the Center seem to compare favorably with the local community's
for:e. Recommendations: To improve fire protection at the
Center, the Administrator of General Services should follow up
to determine whether the Regional Admiistrator: (1) obtains the
cooperation of tenant agency heads in requiring fire-safety
training for tenant personnel responsible for handling flammable
materials and complying with fire regulations and in issuing
warnings to any of their personnel responsible for fire-safety
violations; (2) recommends to tenant agency heads suspension or
other appropriate action against repeat offenders; and (3)
increases the number of fire-department inspections in
high-hazard areas and in buildings without fire-protection
systems until the General Services Administration has such
systems installed. (Author/SC)
              RESTRICTED . Not to be released outside the General
'REVll
 _i ~    ;Accounting Office except on the basis of sepcifc approval
              by the Office of Congreilonal Relations.

                 REPORT OF THE
                 COMPTROLLER GENERAL
  °c~
  *,''           OF THE UNITED STATES



                Fire Protection And Security
                At The Denver Federal Center
                General Services Administration

                Tenant agencies in the Center have dangerous
                housekeeping practices and half f the space
                in the Center does not have sprinkler systems.
                This report recommends ways to improve the
                Center's fire protection.




                LCD-77-341                                       MAY 19, 1977
                  COMPTROLL.R GENRAL OI THE UNITED    TATE
                            'WAHINGTON. CD..   0OI4




B-125617




The Honorable Timothy E. Wirth
House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Wirtb:

      In response to your July 22, 1976, request and
discussions with your office, we evaluated the General
Services Administration's fire protection and security
at the Denver Federal Center.   We briefed your office
on October 14, 1976, on our preliminary findings and
we subsequently obtained and considered the Regional
Administrator's and headquarters officials' comments
on our findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
We also obtained, but did nt verify, comparative data
on fire protection in nearby military installations
and communities and on security in a nearby community.

     As you know, section 236 of the Legislative Re-
organization Act of 1970 requires the head of a Federal
agency to submit a written statciier.t on actions taken
on our recommendations to the House Committee on Govern-
ment Operations and the Senate Committee on Governmental
Affairs not later than 60 days after the date of the
report and to the House and Senate Committees on
Appropriations with the agency's first request for
appropriations made more than 50 days after the date of
the report. We will be in touch with your office in
the near future to arrange for release of :e report
so that the requirements of section 236 can be set in
motion.

                              Sincerely yours,



                       ACTINGComptroller General
                             of the United States
 COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S                  FIRE PROTECTION AND SECURITY
 REPORT TO THE                          AT TE DENVER FEDLRAL CENTER
 HONORABLE TIMOTHY U. WIRTH             GeneraJ Services Administra-
 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                 tion

             FIGEST
             FIRE PROTECTION

             The main weaknesses in fire protection
             at the Denver Federal Center are the
             tenant agencies' dangerous housekeeping
             practices and lack of sprinklers in half
             of the Center's 4 million square feet
             of space.

             The Regional Administrator said

             -- the tenant agency personnel were not
                interested in fire safety courses,

             -- his recommending to tenant agency
                heads that fire safety violators be
                disciplined was potentially effec-
                tive but the region has no enforce-
                ment means,

             -- the fire department will increase
                inspections, and

             -- funding for sprinklers has been hard
                to obtain.

             Headquarters officials said

             -- the region has authority to enforce
                fire safety regulations and should
                report violators to tenant agency
                heads who are responsible for taking
                disciplinary action, and

            -- regional administrators must decide
               how much to spend on sprinklers and
               coordinate such worK with other build-
               ing repairs.  (See p. 4.)



TK     .   Upon   moval, the rApt
over de should b noted
                  openrm~Jvri,
                       hon.         i                    LCD-77-34
                                                         LC-77-341
To improve fire protection at the Center,
the Administrator of General Services
should follow up to determine whether
the Regional Administrator

-- obtains the cooperation of tenant
   agency heads in () requiring fire
   safety training for tenant personnel
   responsible for handling flammable
   materials and complying with fire
   regulations and (2) issuing warn-
   ings to any of their personnel
   responsible for fire safety viclations,

-- recommends to tenant agency heads
   suspension or other appropriate
   action against repeat offenders, and

-- increases the number of fire depart-
   ment inspections in high hazard
   areas and in buildings without fire
   protection systems until the General
   Services Administration has such
   systems installed.  (See P. 4.)

GAO believes that the Center's fire de-
partment protection compares avorably
with the protection provided at nearby
military installations and communities.
(See p. 5.)

GAO did not have enough cost data to
conclusively analyze the bids ard services
proposed by two outside fire departments
for protecting the Center. Taken at their
fac-. value, the proposals probably would
not be more advantageous to the Government.
(See p. 6.)

SECURITY

The Federal Protective Service has four
officers protecting the Center by guarding
the main gate during nonbusiness hours,
inspecting buildings and security areas,
patrolling the Center in mobile units,
and doing other related work. This force
seems to compare favorably with the local
community's force.   (See p 7.)



                     ii
                             Contents

                                                        Page
DIGEST                                                    i
CHAPTER
      1           FIRE PROTECTION                        1
                      Fire prevention                    1
                      Fire detection                     2
                      Fire fighting                      3
                      Conclusions, agency comments,
                        and our evaluation and
                        recommendations                  3
                      Comparison with other fire
                        departments                      5
                      Cost estimates on contracting
                        for fire protection              5
      2           SECURITY                               7
                      Comparison with local police
                        force                            8
APPENDIX
          I   Status of sprinkler protection             9
       II     Comparative data on fire protection at
                Denver Federal Center, local military
                installations, nd fire districts        10
      III     Letter dated February 24, 1977, from
                Regional Administrator, General
                Services Administration                 11
       IV     Letter dated July 22, 1976, from
                Representative Timothy E. Wirth         13

                           ABBREVIATIONS
GAO           General Accounting Office
GSA           General Services Administration
                         CHAPTER 1

                      FIRE PROTECTION


     The Denver Federal Center is a square mile Federal
enclave operated and maintained by the General Services
Administration (GSA), Region 8. The Center's 108 buildings
(3.8 million square feet of office, laboratory, warehouse,
and special purpose spa,;e) are-used by 16 Federal agencies,
mainly the Department of the Interior and GSA.

     Since 1964, 88 fires have caused $9.1 million in
damages at the Center.  The Center's fire department extin-
guished all but two fires before major damage occurred.  A
fire from a circuit breaker malfunction caused $450,000
damage to building 41 in 1973, and arson caused an estimated
$8.5 million damage to building 25 on March 19, 1976.

     Fire protection at the Center is the joint responsi-
bility of GSA and its tenants. GSA is responsible for
providing and maintaining a safe environment and fire pro-
tection equipment. The tenants are responsible for prevent-
ing fires and using their space safely. GSA carries out its
responsibilities through its Center fire department and
the Region 8 accident and fire prevention branch. The fire
department had 22 of its 23 positions filled during the
first half of 1976 while 4 of the 5 branch positions were
filled.

FIRE PREVENTION

     The accident and fire prevention branch and the fire
department carry out fire prevention functions by inspecting
buildings, reviewing repair, alteration and new construction
plans, and conducting fire safety campaigns and employee
fire safety education.

     Under Region 8 policy, the accident and fire preven-
tion branch should survey each building yearly to deter-
mine the safety of the structure and its occupants.  For
each fire safety recommendation requiring modifications
to the building's structure or installation of alarms, the
branch prepares a detailed description of the work needed.
Minor deficiencies are corrected through GSA maintenance
work orders, while larger deficiencies are proposed as
repair and alteration projects.  If a tenant is responsi-
ble for an unsafe condition, tha Regional Commissioner,



                             1
Public Buildings Service, requests thetenant to correct
the deficiency.

     The branch is behind schedule on 105 of the 108 Center
building urveys.   In November 1976, a management survey
team from GSA's central office recommended that an addi-
tional person be added to the branch staff. The branch
chief expects an additional person by May 1977.

     GSA directed its regions in June 1976 to inventory all
laboratory space and schedule projects to correct deficien-
cies in construction, fire protection, and safe operations.
GSA also directed its regions in July 1976 to inventory all
GSA buildings and report'deficiencies and needs such as
alarms, emergency power, standpipes, additional exits, fire
pumps, and detectors. Region 8 accident and fire prevention
branch combined the laboratory and building data an; ranked
each buildirg in the order of fire and life safety needs.

     The fire department inspects each occupied building at
least monthly to identify fire hazards. The fire fighters
list deficiencies and attempt to obtain corrective action
through personal contact and discussion with the tenants.
Fire department officials said that sometimes several
contacts arerequired to obtain corrective action and, in
other cases, this approach dces not work.  In those cases,
the Buildings Manager or the Regional Commissioner, Public
Buildings Service, requests the agency to take corrective
action.  If the request fails, GSA takes no further action.

     GSA has had some success in getting agencies to correct
fire hazards, but hazardous conditions from dangerous house-
keeping practices still exist. During a weekend tour of the
Center, we observed large amounts of flammable liquids
improperly stored, frayed electrical wiring, electrical
appliances left on, and other potential fire hazards. GSh
officials said that these hazards exist because agencies,
as a rule, are not aware of or ignore their fire protection
responsibilities.

FIRE DETECTION

     In a building-by-building survey, we determined that
sprinkler systems and s     and heat detectors connected
to fire department alarm   Jotected about half of the
Center's 3.8 million sq     feet of space.  (See app. I.)
Under GSA standards, about 85 percent of the remaining
2 million square feet should have sprinklers.



                            2
      The region had six sprinkler projects for 537,000
square feet of space scheduled for fiscll year 1978 at
an estimated cost of $1.3 million. As a result of their
mid-1976 surveys, regional officials scheduled 17 more
sprinkler projects for an additional 1.4 million square
feet.

     In the two major fires, building 25 had no fire detec-
tors in the laboratory area where the fire occurred, and the
automatic sprinkler/alarm system in building 41 did not work
immediately because the fire was in the ceiling above the
sprinklers. GSA rewired building 41 to prevent this situa-
tion from reoccurring and plans to move the laboratory from
building 25 in September 1977.

     The fire investigator said large quantities of flam-
mables were stored improperly in building 25 and that
laboratories should be in separate single-story buildings
for greater safety.  Regional officials said that they
plan separate single-story laboratories in the future.

FIRE FIGHTING

     The Center has a fire station with two fire trucks,
two pickup trucks, an ambulance, and portable auxiliary
equipment. A minimum of four fire fighters and one
dispatcher are required for each shift. During the first
half of 1976, 6 or 7 of the Center's 22 fire fighters were
usually on duty each shift, but never less than 5.

     The fire epartment calls on all off-duty personnel
and other fire departments for major fires. For example,
18 Center fire fighters and the Lakewood and Bancroft Fire
Protection istricts fought the fire in building 25 which
caused $8.5 million damage. The Center and seven local fire
departments have mutual aid agreements which contain a
waiver for compensation.

     The investigator for the fire in building 25 said that
the fire fighters contained the fire at the lowest monetary
loss. A fire inspector for a nearby military installation,
who fought the fire as a Bancroft volunteer fire fighter,
said that the Center's fire department fought the fire very
professionally.

CONCLUSIONS, AGENCY COMMENTS,
AND OUR EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

     The main weakness in fire prevention is the dangerous
housekeeping practices of some tenant personnel. The main

                              3
weakness in fire detection is the lack of sprinkler/alarm
coverage for about half (2 million square feet) of the
Center's space. We suggested that the Regional Admin-
istrator improve housekeeping practices and increase
inspections until GSA installs sprinkler systems in
unprotected areas.
     The Regional Administrator said (see app. III) that:
     -- Region 8 has worked with the Colorado Safety
        Association and the National Safety Council
        in preparing a fire safety course but the
        Center's agencies are not interested in such
        a course.
     -- Warnings and recommending suspensions are
        potentially effective in correcting tenant
        carelessness, neglect, and apathy, but the
        region later said that it has no effective
        means to enforce fire safety regulations.
     -- The fire department will increase inspections
        in high hazard areas and during nonbusiness
        hours in buildings without ire protection
        systems.
     In regard to the Regional Administrator's comments on
enforcing fire safety regulations, headquarters officials
said that Federal property management regulations authorize
the Regional Administrator to enforce the agency's fire
safety regulations. Concerning our suggestion on enforce-
ment, they said that the region should identify violators
to tenant agency heads who are responsible for disciplining
their own personnel.
     The Regional Administrator also said that GSA continues
to install needed sprinkler/alarm systems as funds become
available, but the funding h   been hard to obtain. Head-
quarters officials said hat Regional Administrators must
decide on how much to spend for expanding sprinkler systems
and coordinate such work with other building repairs.
Sprinkler systems are financed through the repairs and
alteration account in the Federal building fund. We did not
analyze the funds available for sprinkler systems but we plan
to review this fund in the near future.
     To achieve more responsible observance of fire preven-
tion procedures, we recommend that the Administrator of GSA
should follow up to determine whether the Regional Adminis-
trator

                              4
     -- obtains the cooperation of tenant agency heads in
        (1) requiring fire safety training for tenant person-
        nel responsible for handling flammable materials and
        complying with fire regulations and (2) issuing warn-
        ings to any of their personnel responsible for fire
        safety violations,
     -- recommends to tenant agency heads suspension or other
        appropriate action against repeat offenders, and
     -- increases the number of fire department inspections
        in those areas where hazardous conditions exist.
     To improve fire detection, we recommend that the Admin-
istrator of GSA should follow up to determine whether the Re-
gional Administrator requires more nonbusiness hours inspec-
tions of Center buildings without fire protection systems
until GSA installs such systems.
COMPARISON WITH OTHER FIRE DEPARTMENTS
     The Center's fire department protection compares favor-
ably with the protection provided at nearby military instal-
lations and communities. (See app. II.) For example, the
Lakewood Fire District has 5 fire stations, 84 fire fighters
(an average of 17 for each station), 9 fire trucks, and
2 ambulances to protect 30 square miles. In comparison,
the Center has 1 station, 22 fire fighters, 2 fire trucks,
and an ambulance to protect 1 square mile.
     The Center's fire department performs several duties
not normally performed by the district such as maintaining
fire alarm and sprinkler systems, monitoring controlled
burning and welding, escorting personnel into locked areas,
and administering first aid training.
COST ESTIMATES ON CONTRACTING
FOR FIRE PROTECTION

     GSA obtained cost estimates for fire protection from
two fire districts. Lakewood Fire District proposed a fixed-
price, long-term contract at a cost based on the Center's
assessed property value. In the absence of assessed value, we
had no basis for estimating the annual cost. GSA estimated
that it would cost $165,000 to obtain auxiliary services such
as maintenance and monitoring duties specifically excluded from
the proposal.



                                5
     Bancroft Fire District offered two proposals. The
firat proposal stipulated that the district would assume
operating the Center's fire station and equipment. The
cost of services would increase from $402,000 for the
first year to $600,000 for the fifth year subject to
adjustment for the level of required services. This pro-
posal was unclear about the auxiliary services now provided
by the Center's fire department.

     In the second proposal, the district would assume
operating the Center'sfire department with plans for
reducing the staff in relation to upgrading fire pro-
tection features in the Center structures. The.estimated
price for this proposal would decrease from $402,000 for
the first year to $330,000 for both the fourth and
fifth years provided that all structures would be ade-
quately upgraded by the fourth year.

     GSA's estimated cost for operating the Cent.u's fire
department in 1976 was about $334,000. This included
direct salaries, GSA contributions to fringe benefits, and
other costs such as uniforms, vehicle rentals, and fire
fighting equipment.

     We did not have enough cost data to make a conclusive
analysis of the bids and services proposed by the two out-
side fire departments.  But taken at their face value, we
doubt that the proposals would be more advantageous to the
Government.




                             6
                         CHAPTER 2

                         SECURITY


     During 1975, 215 thefts were reported which resulted
in losses of $26,000 in Government property and $15,000
in personal property at the Center.

     The Federal Protective Service is responsible for
security in Region 8. The Service has four officers on
duty at all times at the Center.  A Service official told
us that the desirable staff level is six officers on
each shift. The Service officers are armed and equippe
with devices such as walkie-talkies.

     The Center is surrounded by a security fence with
five gates.  Service officers guaLd the main gate during
nonbusiness hours, inspect high security areas each half-
hour, patrol streets in mobile units at irregular intervals,
and inspect the interior ,)f major unlocked buildings after
normal duty hours. The officers also control traffic and
parking, investigate traffic accidents and reported crimes,
and respond to requests for assistance.
     Prior to July 1974 the Service inspected the interior
of occupied and unlocked buildings on all shifts.  After
that time, interior inspections were discontinued during
daylight hours while night inspections continued until
January 1976, when a bombing occurred in a downtown DenveL
Federal building. Officers were then reassigned from
Center inspection duties to guardposts inside the downtown
buildings. Nighttime interior inspections were resumed at
the Center in November 1976.

     Security devices at the Center include 24 monitored
intruder alarms, locks on doors of sensitive or high
value areas in many of the unlocked buildings, and locks
on the doors of 46 of the Center's 108 buildings.   GSA's
repair and alteration branch completed a security study
in October 1974 and estimated that it would cost about
$1 million to install electronic surveillance locking
systems on all doors of 17 major Center buildings. The
study contained no recommendations but such systems
are being installed in three of the buildings. Most of
the Government property losses in 1975 occurred in seven
unlocked buildings.




                              7
     Federal regu_         'uire GSA to provide normal
protective service foL      uildings and grounds in its
custody. The agency        jently developing a computerized
model to systematical.    .yze Federal property security
needs and protection.
COMPARISON WITH LOCAL
POLICE FORCE
     The Center's security force seems to compare favorably
with the local community's force. The Lakewood Police
Department has 15 to 20 police officers on each shift and
the equivalent of 1 mobile unit for each 4 square miles.
In comparison, the Center has four officers on each shift
for 1 square mile, with two officers performing mobile
patrols.




                             8
APPENDIX I                                               APPENDIX I



                    STATUS OF SPRINKLER PROTECTION

           Build-             Protected                  Sprinkler
            ing                  by         Requiring     system
           number    Total    sprinklers    sprinklers    status

                          (square feet in thousands)

            810        681        681            -       Installed
             41        501        501            -          do.
             67        389         94           286       Planned
             25        364         44           318         do.
             20        360         14           346         do.
             53        356        113           172         do.
             56        312         29           281         do.
             48        152        152            -       Installed
             45         75         -             75       Planned
             51         68         68            -       Installed
             50         61         -             59       Planned
             47          53        -             -
             40          51        -             -
            85          42        -              41       Planned
            16          36        -              35         do.
           710          35        -              35         do.
            15          29        -              29         do.
            46          22        -               2         do.
            62          17        -              17      (note a)
             76         15        -              -
             21         14        -              10      Planned
             55         13        -              10        do.
             52         12                       -
             42         11        -              10      Planned

             24      3,669     1,696          1,726
Other
  build-
  ings       84        128             2         58
Total      108       3,797      1,698       b/1,784
Percent
  of
  total                                45        47

a/Private building and is subject to agency's fire protection.

b/Either because of the small size or type of building,
  sprinklers are not required for 315,000 sq. ft. or 8 percent.
                                  9
APPENDIX II                                                                                                                    APPENDIX III
                                                                                                                               APPENDIX


                                                   o              oo  C                                  ULAON
                                ml=
                                 I*2               o
                                                   000
                                                    1             c o 3                   a1             ~'
                                                   l              M30
                                u                  ac


                                a
                                4i             V3i
                                               4J
                                               W                           03
                                     I.         I                 * o0                    0               I         -
                               .V4                 r
                                                   U


                                                   CO
       zli                            C            ri


  C
  a                        a   .,
                                                                    '-
                 e   01
                     oc        uu 0                                                       ct(                             u

  01                 ch:                  V                         o           '~             "         4 -N.u

             az      E         C4
                               i               W4i
              E·     IL                         a        -O        -                 L
   4OZ       a       PC                       C4

  zC         I
  o                                                                 00                                                    o

                                          (C)4J                     go co J                                   1           0
  >          X       E-               N         w
                                          T     4)                       -W          ..             I0              024
             Z0                                                      0               v                        . .




  £                                                                        1                                              0
  O                  E)                   _4                                                                              oo



                                                   a          r                                4J CO                W




                                                              r     C                      LJ (                     Y


                                                                   4J C:         JJ            >4             C SW



                                                         (a              =       Fa O C                       4i - H4     _i
                                                         14 C        4 C                  &4 O                m           C
                                                                                                                          r:




                                                                           iO
APPENDIX III                                         APPENDIX III
                    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
             GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATIA(N
February 24, 1977                                Region 8   a
                                    Denver Federal Center
                                   Denver, Colorado 80225

P1r. Irwin M. D'Addario
Regional Manager                                 C   t
U. S. General Accounting Office
Suite 30-D
2420 W. 26th Avenue
Denver, CO   80211
Dear             io:
In compliance with your letter of February 4, 1977, we
have reviewed your draft report on fire protection and
security at the Denver Federal Center and believe that
the report is an accurate presentation of the facts
concerning this subject. The conclusions and
recommendations in the report, however, cause us some
concern and have generated the following comments:
     1. The report identified the main weakness in
fire detection conditions as being the lack of sprinkler/
alarm coverage for about half (two million square feet)
of the Denver Federal Center's space. While this
observation is substantially correct, little consideration
was given to the fact that General Services Administration
continues to install such systems where needed as funds
become available. The funding for the installation of
sprinkler/alarm systems has been difficult t obtain and,
consequently, the deficiency has been difficult to rectify.
Although your report identifies this problem area, no
recommendations as to a practical resolution of the
problem were presented.
     2. We concur with your recommendation that tenant
agency personnel responsible for the storage and handling
of flammables be required to attend a fire safety course.
It is also our feeling that a course in laboratory safety
should be presented to those personnel working in such an
environment. We have not, however, beer entirely successful
in our endeavor to make laboratory agencies fire-safety
conscious.

The U. S. Civil Service Commission's Denver Regional
Training Center, the organization responsible for the
Federal Employee Training Program, was contacted concerning

                                   11
 APPENDIX III                                   APPENDIX III
the presentation of a fire safety course. We were informed
that they are not prepared to provide this recommended
course. GSA has, in addition, worked with the Colorado
Safety Assoriation and the National Safety Council to
develop a course on laboratory safety. An informal poll
of the concerned agencies revealed, however, that Federal
Center agencies lacked interest in such a course.

     3. We feel that all of our available resources are
currently committed to all aspects of fire prevention. By
rearranging our current commitments we will be able to
increase the fire department inspections in high hazard
areas and also to increase the frequency of nonbusiness
hours inspections in those buildings without fire protection
systems.

     4.   Your recommendation concerning the issuance of
warnings to any tenants responsible for fire safety
violations, with suspension from duty to be recommended
for repeat offenders, is considered potentially effective
in correcting fire safety problems associated with the
carelessness, neglect, or apathy of tenant agency personnel.
In any case, we feel that the most effective method of
ensuring positive fire protection is to concentrate on the
installation of fire detection and containment devices. An
additional recommendation is that laboratories and other
high fire hazard operations should be housed in buildings
specifically designed to provide safer working environments
for uch functions.
In conclusion, we feel that the recognition of hazards is
merely the first step in the resolution of the overall fire
safety problem.   As we explained to your auditors, the
correction of the identified problems requires resources,
especially funding, and it remains our belief that the
lack of the essential resources is the most significant
problem with regard to the security and fire protection
situation at the Denver Federal Center.
We appreciate your interest in this matter and would be
pleased to provide you with any additional information
you may desire.
Sincerely,




MICHAEL J. NORTON
Regional Administrator

                              12
 APPENDIX IV                                      APPENDIX IV



               Congre     of tfe uiniteb Otates
                    jout of RtpretentatibeS
                      -nigtm,  .C. 20515

                        July 22, 1976
                                                                  -

                                                                  c

Mr. Elmer B. Staats
Comptroller General of the United States                        e
General Accounting Office Building
441 G Street
Washington, D. C. 20548                                         co

Dear Mr. Staats:
I recently spent several hours with Region VIII General
Services Administration administrators viewing the damage
caused by the $8 million Denver Federal Center fire. This
on site inspection provided an opportunity to discuss
security and fire safety procedures established for the
facility by the General Services Administration. Ufor-
tunately, it generated more questions in my mind than it
answered.
The recent fire was the second one to cause major damage
in the past three years. Despite the earlier disaster,
GSA has not installed sprinkling systems or smoke detectors
in a umber of high hazard areas. Consequently, valuable
equipment, irreplaceable research, and important records
are in constant danger of being destroyed.
There are 108 permanent structures on the Federal Center
grounds, protected by 11 fire-fighters scheduled for duty
on each 2 hour shift. Unofficial sources suggest that
$here may only be an average of eight or nine firemen on
the grounds at any given time; the others are either often
on leave or ill. It is the responsibility of the fire-fighters
to inspect the buildings on a regular basis, yet staff size
may be imposing serious limits on inspection procedures.
Alarm systems are minimal. Z-ren some of the newer buildings,
such as the Fish and Wildlife facility which was constructed
some'-six or seven years ago, have no fire detection equipment.
This holds true of the testing labs in the Bureau of
Reclamation building as well.



                               13
APPENDIX IV                                       APPENDIX IV

Mr. Elmer B. Staats
July 22, 1976
Page 2

Security services at the Center also appear to be highly
inadequate. During the day shift about 17 people are on
duty. Five or six of them are on fixed post duty guarding
four gates. The twelve remaining officers are employed
by the Federal Protective Service and are responsible for
patrolling the Center as well as Federal installations at
other locations. During the midnight and swing shifts,
a total of only seven or eight persons are guarding the
gates, patrolling the Center, and patrolling other Federal
property. Rarely are there more than two FPO's on Center
grounds.
These conditions and procedures relating to fire prevention
and security are of deep concern to me. Both federal
employees and property appear to be subject to potentially
serious risks. I therefore request that the General
Accounting Office conduct an audit of the fire and security
equipment, procedures, and staffing at the facility. I
would be irterested in an assessment of the following
particular items:
     - fire prevention equipment, personnel and procedures
     - fire detection equipment, personnel and procedures
     - fire fighting equipment, personnel and procedures
     - security equipment and personnel

In making your audit I would find particularly useful
information on the comparability of Denver Federal Center
procedures, equipment, and personnel to those found at
other similar federal and private installations. I would
also welcome any recommendations you might make for improving
or strengthening fire prevention and security procedures
at the facility.
With best wishes,
                            _,Aonely      yours


                              Timothy     Wirth
TEW:la




                            14