Fire marshal about U.S. Army Cadet Corps facility: 'Unlivable'

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BOURBON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A fire marshal has called the conditions 'unlivable.' Newly released photos show what investigators say they found inside a military school in Bourbon County.

A tip led the fire marshal to assisting the city of Millersburg in evacuating some buildings of the U.S. Army Cadet Corps facility, formerly the Millersburg Military Institute.

On Tuesday afternoon, WKYT's Jerrika Insco approached Sergeant Brian Lehnhardt at the U.S. Army Cadet Corps about the investigation with photos in hand of inside these evacuated buildings.

"You're attacking me," said Sgt. Brian Lehnhardt.
"I don't think this is attacking at all," said WKYT's Jerrika Insco. "I'm just showing you photos."

Officials at the U.S. Army Cadet Corps were shocked by last week's evacuation of 70 cadets, ages 12 to 17, saying the Rankin and McIntyre buildings were up to code to their knowledge. But the fire marshal says common sense should have told them that the buildings were not safe for these cadets.

"I've been doing this job 17 years, and this is some of the worst conditions I've ever seen," said Batt. Chief Mike Duffy, who is the fire marshal in Paris. He is assisting the city of Millersburg in this investigation.

When looking through all 21 photos with the sergeant, he still claimed the teenage cadets were safe staying in those buildings.

"If you know you're under renovation, why do you have cadets staying in buildings that are under renovation?" asked WKYT's Jerrika Insco.
"Because at the time, ma'am, the building inspectors that we've been working with gave us no indication that are people wouldn't be safe," said Sgt. Lehnhardt.

The fire marshal has a different story, saying back in 2009 the state advised them not to occupy these buildings because of the unsafe conditions.

"They were reiterated with that again three weeks prior to our arrival on our complaint and advised not to be in the structure," said the fire marshal. "They choose not to adhere to those warnings and decided to do what they did."

So what's next for the U.S. Army Cadet Corps? They are still continuing summer camp, having the cadets stay in other buildings. For now, Rankin and McIntyre buildings are shut down, and no one can go inside of them. The fire marshal gave them until Tuesday to make some sort of progress.

"If it means that we eventually may have to tear down one of these buildings in order to move forward, then unfortunately we may have to take that step," said Sgt. Lehnhardt.

We are told state officials along with the fire marshal will be back at the U.S. Army Cadet Corps campus on Friday to check up on their progress.

Child social services are also investigating the fire code and safety concerns. Officials with the U.S. Army Cadet Corps say they are waiting to hear their final reports.

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