Chapter 31.20 General Requirements

City Code Chapter

31.20.010 Authority at Fires or Other Emergencies.

(Amended by Ordinance 190502, effective August 20, 2021.)

  1. A.  The Fire Marshal or any of their assistants, the Fire Chief, or any member of the Fire Bureau in charge of fire fighting at a fire, or the Chief of Police or any member of the Police Bureau in charge of police officers attending a fire, may immediately, summarily and without being required to give any notice whatsoever
    1. 1.  Cause the use and/or occupancy of all or any portion of a building or structure which is found to be in danger of fire resulting from the spread of an existing fire to be discontinued;
    2. 2.  Close said building or structure or part thereof during such period of danger;
    3. 3.  Prevent the use and occupancy thereof.
  2. Such officer may use such force as they may find reasonably necessary to protect human life.  It is unlawful for any person to refuse to leave such building, structure or portion thereof when ordered to vacate the same under authority of this Section.
  3. B.  The Fire Chief or the Fire Chief’s authorized representatives shall be in charge of the scene of any emergency involving the saving of life and/or property from fire or other disaster, emergency medical services, hazardous materials incidents, or other emergency aid and shall have the power and authority to direct such operation as may be necessary in the reasonable performance of their duty.

31.20.020 Eliminating Fire Hazard.

  1. Any owner/occupant, using or having charge or control of any premises, or any part of any premises, who creates or maintains a condition, or situation which constitutes a fire or life safety hazard, or who fails to promptly comply with the written notice of the Fire Bureau, shall be deemed guilty of violating this Title.  

31.20.030 Violator Assumes Costs.

  1. If a violation of this chapter results in or contributes to any emergency, including a fire, the violator may be civilly liable for the full cost of the emergency response as well as cleanup costs.  The Commissioner-in-Charge of the Fire Bureau shall fix the amount of such expense.  The amounts of all such charges assessed pursuant to this Section shall be paid to the City Treasurer, for deposit into the general fund of the City.

31.20.040 Fire Marshal Authorized to Abate Hazard and Assign Costs.

(Amended by Ordinance 190502, effective August 20, 2021.)

  1. Where the Fire Marshal or Fire Bureau official in charge of the incident deems conditions exist that are deemed hazardous to life and property, except as limited by this Title, they are authorized to abate summarily such hazardous conditions that are in violation of this Title.  Any costs associated with such summary abatement shall be charged against the property using the procedure provided for in City Code Chapter 22.  The owner, occupant or other person in charge shall be immediately notified of the action taken and ordered by the Fire Marshal to secure the premises in full compliance with this Title.

31.20.050 Fire Marshal Authorized to Require Building Alterations.

  1. Whenever the Fire Marshal finds that the means of egress from a building or portion thereof, or that the means of preventing the origin or spread of fire or of extinguishing fire in any building or portion thereof, are insufficient or inadequate, the Fire Marshal is hereby authorized and empowered to direct and require that any such building or portion thereof be rearranged, altered, or repaired to be sufficient and adequate in such respects.

31.20.060 Unsafe Buildings.

(Amended by Ordinance 190502, effective August 20, 2021.)

  1. A.  Notwithstanding the mandatory directives to the Fire Marshal contained in this subsection, the Fire Marshal may, in the exercise of their authority, and in lieu of ordering the vacation of such building or structure, impose alternative interim measures, including, but not limited to, the imposition of a fire watch as established in this Title, when, in the opinion of the Fire Marshal, such interim measures will reduce such hazard so that it is no longer imminently dangerous so that persons may temporarily occupy such building or structure until such hazard has been abated.
  2. B.  The owner, the owner’s agent, or the occupant shall reimburse the City for any expenditures used in precautionary measures under this Section; or such expenditures shall be included as an additional item and be spread as an assessment against the property.
  3. C.  If a building or structure used for low income multi-family housing is found to be imminently dangerous, as set forth in this Title, the Fire Marshal shall not cause the use and/or occupancy of the building or structure to be discontinued immediately, but shall report the matter to the Commissioner-In-Charge who shall report the matter to the Council for consideration of rehabilitation and repair by the City, provided that the Fire Marshal, in the exercise of their discretion, finds that interim measures, including but not limited to a fire watch, will reduce the hazard so that it is no longer imminently dangerous.

31.20.070 Temporary Fire Watch.

(Amended by Ordinances 181956 and 190502, effective August 20, 2021.)

  1. A.  In order to avoid relocating persons from, or the vacation of, any structure, place of business or place of habitation that is imminently dangerous, as described in this Title, the Fire Marshal or senior fire officer may determine that a reasonable level of fire and life safety can be obtained, order the owner/occupant to provide either a licensed, bonded security agency or other means approved by the Fire Bureau, to perform as a fire watch, making periodic patrols, as designated by the Fire Bureau, as a condition of allowing continued occupancy.  If such patrols are not available or cannot be established as ordered by the Fire Marshal or senior fire officer, or if owner/occupant is unavailable, or if owner/occupant does not comply with such orders of the Fire Bureau, then the Fire Marshal or senior fire officer may:
    1. 1.  Order off duty Fire Bureau personnel back to duty to provide the fire watch patrol, or
    2. 2.  Contract with a licensed, bonded security company to provide such service
  2. B.  The owner /occupant shall be responsible for paying all costs incurred by the Fire Bureau to the City Treasurer, who will reimburse the Fire Bureau’s budget for this expense. If such costs are not paid within 30 days of billing, an assessment shall be made by ordinance and entered in the docket of City liens.  Such entry shall constitute a lien upon the property and collected in all respects as provided for in this Title, and shall bear interest at the rate of 9 percent per year from 10 days after the date of entry into the lien docket.

31.20.090 Authority to Require Key Boxes and Charge Installation Fee.

  1. The Fire Marshal is authorized to require the installation of a key box in or on a building or area when access to or within the building or area may be difficult for firefighting purposes.  The Fire Marshal may charge a fee for installation of a key box, regardless of whether the installation is mandatory or voluntary.

31.20.100 Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems in Five-Story Apartment Buildings.

(Amended by Ordinances 181956 and 190502, effective August 20, 2021.)

  1. The owners of five-story apartment buildings of Type V-A construction approved under City Code Chapter 24.95 shall be responsible for assuring that the fire and life-safety systems required by the City Code Section 24 are maintained in an operable condition at all times.  Approved persons shall conduct quarterly tests of such systems; a written record shall be maintained and be available to the inspection authority, unless otherwise required by the Fire Chief.

31.20.110 Certificates of Fitness.

(Amended by Ordinance 181956, effective June 25, 2008.)

  1. A.   A Certificate of Fitness shall first be obtained from the Fire Marshal before doing any of the following:
    1. 1.   Automatic sprinkler system installation, alteration, testing, service or repair;
    2. 2.   Fire extinguisher refilling, service or repair;
    3. 3.   Fixed fire extinguishing systems installation, alteration, testing, service or repair;
    4. 4.   Privately owned fire mains or hydrant systems installation, alteration, testing, service or repair;
    5. 5.   Commercial cooking hood and duct system cleaning.
  2. B.   When an applicant has successfully complied with regulations administered by the Fire Marshal, and upon receipt of the first annual fee as specified in the fee scheduled adopted by City Council, the Fire Marshal shall issue a Certificate of Fitness to the applicant. The Fire Marshal shall issue subsequent annual Certificates of Fitness on payment of an annual fee, unless the certification has lapsed, been suspended or been revoked.
  3. C.   Each Certificate of Fitness issued shall remain valid and in effect for one year from the date of issue unless suspended or revoked for due cause by the Fire Marshal. The certificate shall not be transferable.
  4. D.   It is unlawful for any person firm or corporation to assign an employee or other person to perform any of the activities regulated by this Chapter unless such employee or person is certified, or working under an on-site supervisor who is certified.
  5. E.   Whenever the Fire Marshal determines after investigation that any person holding a Certificate of Fitness as provided herein has performed work so as to create a hazard to life or property, the Fire Marshal is authorized and empowered to suspend or revoke the Certificate of Fitness. Notice shall be given of the suspension or revocation and the reasons for the suspension or revocation shall be identified in the notice.
  6. F.   The Fire Marshal may issue a citation to firms or corporations in violation of this Chapter.
  7. G.   Any person, firm or corporation so affected may appeal such suspension, revocation or citation as provided in this Title.
  8. H.   Once a Certificate of Fitness has been revoked, an applicant shall reapply, meet the requirements of certification and pay fees for a new Certificate before performing work on equipment requiring a Certificate. The Fire Marshal may delay issuance of new Certificate for up to 90 days following revocation.

31.20.120 Use of Helicopters.

  1. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Code, the Fire Bureau may use and land helicopters any place within the City, subject to Federal and State regulations for the purpose of training Fire Bureau personnel and helicopter operators in fire suppression techniques and disaster relief procedures and for the purpose of conducting disaster relief drills subject to the consent of the property owner or in the case of City property, the director of the affected bureau.

Upcoming and Recent Changes

Ordinance Number 190502

Effective Date