DALLAS -- Ray Johnson lives across the street from where a deadly fire took the life of his elderly neighbor.

She didn't have the keys to open her burglar bars around her porch from the inside.

Johnson's home has the same set up.

"It makes you think... Find an escape." Johnson said. "I leave my keys up front, so if something happens -- if the fire alarm goes off -- I can crawl to the front, grab my key, and unlock the door."

Ray Johnson shows us his burglar bars, which require a key to unlock from the inside. Those bars are a violation of city code, but they're still found on many older homes. 

The bars are meant to keep the bad guys out, but without a key, he's stuck inside. Experts say it's a setup that violates city code.

Neunzo Thomas works at AAA Custom Windows and Security Doors in north Dallas, a shop that's been around for 35 years.

He says they don't sell burglar bars that lock from the inside, and recommends residents swap out their bars with ones that contain a keyless exit from the inside.

Neunzo Thomas shows us burglar bars that meet Dallas city code, which have mesh grating and can be unlocked from the inside without a key.

Statewide, the a Texas Health and Safety Code calls for security bars to have at least one "interior release mechanism" per room.

"The mesh is there to prevent someone from the outside from accessing the single-cylinder deadbolt lock," Thomas said.

While the doors that lock from the inside may be against code, the reality is, they're still found on many older homes.

That's why Dallas Fire-Rescue says they plan to walk through neighborhoods with many homes with burglar bars and offer what could be a life-saving warning.

They'll be urging residents to upgrade bars, if possible, and if not, to keep the key handy.