ESL school district sues company after alarm system fails to detect break-in

By Kelly Holleran | Nov 24, 2009

East St. Louis School District No. 189 says it sustained losses of more than $1.9 million after an unknown person broke into a school and set it on fire.

The school district says it hired defendant Central District Alarm to install alarms and to provide alarm services at Harding School, located at 731 N. 74th St. in East St. Louis. In addition, the school district hired KLM Loss Prevention Services to patrol and monitor the school.

On Oct. 7, 2007, unknown people broke into the school, but the alarms failed to function and failed to send a warning to authorities, according to the complaint filed Nov. 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

"The fire and burglar alarms did not detect the unauthorized entry, smoke and/or fire and failed to send an alarm to the authorities, allowing the fire to break out, spread and cause severe property damage," the suit states. "Defendant CDA's breach of its duty to provide alarm services to Plaintiff resulted in a loss to Plaintiff in excess of $1,900,000 due to the alarm's failure to function and/or failure of Defendant CDA's employees to respond to the alarm."

KLM negligently failed to keep the unknown burglars out of the school and failed to inform the district of previous unauthorized injuries, the school district claims.

In the three-count suit, the school district is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

They will be represented by Robert W. Cockerham and Joshua S. Davis of Brown and James in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-623.

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