A newspaper investigation has found the Michigan fire marshal's office hasn't performed annual inspections of churches, theaters, restaurants or other places of public assemblage as required by state law.
The Lansing State Journal reports that the Legislature has never funded the requirement. The state fire marshal's office alleges local fire departments perform the inspections.
But surveys show that most fire departments statewide are all-volunteer with no inspectors on staff.
Michigan also doesn't track fires across the state or whether the burned buildings had been inspected.
Lansing Fire Marshal Marshaun Blake says his office only inspects public assemblage places if there's a complaint, request or significant change to the building.
Former state Fire Marshal Julie Secontine says Michigan has ignored the issue for four decades. She worries that Michigan won't dedicate the resources needed until after a tragedy.