South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – The Lexington County Fire Service fire marshal for the area around South Congaree has mandated safety changes that may cause a traffic backup each afternoon during student pickup time at Congaree Elementary. According to South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert, the fire marshal has deemed it unsafe to have two rows of vehicles waiting in the loop that circles behind the school and is used for student pick-up purposes.
Chief Shumpert said that the fire marshal has said that if both lanes are used in the loop for waiting parents, there is no way for emergency vehicles to access the rear of the school if necessary. In the event of a fire, an alarm, or even a medical emergency on the rear of the property, someone would need to try and rush parents out of the loop which could cause major confusion. “School District Two has been given a deadline to change this,” Shumpert said. “It certainly won’t be a great change, but the fire marshal is doing his job to make sure that the students and faculty are safe in the event of any emergency.”
Shumpert says he fully expects Ramblin Road to back up in both directions from the school as students are being picked up. The school’s dismissal time is around 2:30 p.m. but they are anticipating problems between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. each school day. “There is no space on the school’s property for stacking of cars as newly constructed schools are required to provide,” according to Shumpert. “We are asking motorist to be as patient as possible and detour around those few blocks of Ramblin Road if possible,” the chief said. He will have officers monitor the situation for motorist that act in an unsafe manner if they grow frustrated waiting in traffic.