YUMA – (KSWT NEWS 13) - The City of Yuma says the door Raul Dominguez escaped through was a fire door. Dominguez slipped through Municipal Court security on January 22nd in handcuffs and ankle shackles, before carjacking a mini-van and losing authorities in thick brush near the border.
Fire doors open for anyone who pushes or leans on the bar. Sometimes fire doors set off fire alarms, when opened. The city says the door Dominguez used to find freedom was broken.
"The door is a fire escape, basically. It's activated with a push-button, push bar that ... and in the event of a fire, the consideration there is loss of life is a higher priority," explained Dave Nash, a City of Yuma spokesperson.
In other words, in the event of a fire, the City would rather have everyone in the building get out safely, than have security doors that automatically lock prisoners, and everybody else, inside.
So fire doors, by design, open from the inside and let people out. From an entry/exit point of view, the door worked perfectly for Raul Dominguez. So what was broken about the door? Perhaps the alarm didn't go off when Dominguez opened it, or perhaps it was disabled.
The City didn't say.
"All I know is the door was reported to be malfunctioning. I'm sure if there are further details, they'll come out in the report," said Nash.
Nash is referring to the administrative report being put together by internal investigators on Dominguez's escape. But questions remain tonight: Why is the city citing a broken door in the escape, that would have opened anyway? Will the investigative report be made public when it's complete? And will the proposed changes to prisoner transfer procedures and court security be effective in preventing future escapes?
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