TITLE 16

Health and Safety

Safety

CHAPTER 66. FIRE PREVENTION

Subchapter II. State Fire Marshal


(a) The State Fire Marshal shall reside in Delaware after appointment. The State Fire Marshal shall receive such salary as may be set by the State Fire Prevention Commission within the limits set by the annual appropriation to the State Fire Prevention Commission. The State Fire Marshal shall devote their whole time to the duties of the State Fire Marshal's office. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of State Fire Marshal for any reason other than the expiration of a term, the vacancy shall be filled by the State Fire Prevention Commission for the balance of the unexpired term. The State Fire Marshal shall be appointed for a term of 4 years and such term shall be renewable in the discretion of the State Fire Prevention Commission.

(b) The State Fire Marshal, with the consent and approval of the State Fire Prevention Commission, shall appoint all authorized personnel pursuant to Merit System rules and regulations and administer the usual oath as required. Salaries of all personnel to include appropriate position classifications, upgrading and promotions shall be in compliance with Chapter 59 of Title 29.

(c) The Fire Marshal of any political subdivision of this State, having such an office duly created by ordinance or resolution before January 1, 1959, shall serve as an Assistant State Fire Marshal. Within the limits of the said political subdivision, the Fire Marshal shall have exclusive jurisdiction exercising the duties and powers of the State Fire Marshal but the Fire Marshal shall serve without compensation.

(d) The State Fire Marshal, with the consent and approval of the State Fire Prevention Commission, shall employ or acquire such office and clerical employees as may be necessary for the orderly administration of Marshal's office. The State Fire Marshal shall acquire such equipment, furniture, supplies and paraphernalia as may be necessary for the orderly administration of Marshal's office.

(e) The State Fire Marshal, the State Fire Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, and other members of the State Fire Marshal's office, in addition to their salaries, shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

(f) The State Fire Marshal, or the Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, shall enforce all laws and ordinances of the State and the several counties, cities and political subdivisions thereof having to do with:

(1) Prevention of fires;

(2) The storage, sale and use of any explosive, combustible or other dangerous article in solid, liquid or gas form;

(3) The installation and maintenance of equipment of all sorts intended for fire control, detection and extinguishment;

(4) The means and adequacy of exit, in case of fire, from buildings and all other places in which numbers of persons work, live or congregate from time to time for any purpose, except buildings used wholly as dwelling houses containing no more than 2 families;

(5) The suppression of arson.

(g) The State Fire Marshal, or the Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, shall assist any chief of any recognized fire company upon request of such chief.

(h) The State Fire Marshal, or the Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, shall enforce the regulations promulgated by the State Fire Prevention Commission as authorized by § 6604 of this title.

(i) The State Fire Marshal, or the Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, shall require the administrative heads of public and private schools and educational institutions to have at least 1 fire drill each month when said schools are in session and to keep all doors and exits unlocked during school hours.

(j) The State Fire Marshal, or the Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, shall inspect all state- and county-owned institutions, all schools, theatres, churches and other places of public assembly as to fire exits and reasonable safety standards and report the Marshal's findings and recommendations to the proper administrative heads.

(k) The State Fire Marshal, or the Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, may at any time investigate as to the origin or circumstances of any fire or explosion occurring in the State and may at all reasonable hours enter any building or premises within the Marshal's jurisdiction for the purpose of making an inspection or investigation, which, under this chapter, they may deem necessary to be made.

(l)(1) The State Fire Marshal or the Marshal's designee shall review all plans and specifications, with the exception of those political subdivisions having exclusive jurisdiction under subsection (c) of this section for conformance to the requirements of subsections (f) and (j) of this section, prior to actual construction for:

a. All new buildings and additions; for any building undergoing a change in occupancy; or any part of a building suffering damage from fire, explosion, or any other cause; with the exception of buildings used wholly as dwelling houses containing no more than 2 families and buildings used wholly for farming purposes.

b. Alarm systems, fire protection systems, flammable and combustible liquid or gas installation or other miscellaneous installations falling under the State Fire Prevention Rules and Regulations.

c. Subdivision plans.

(2) The State Fire Marshal is authorized to establish a schedule of plan review fees to be paid by the submitter of the plans reviewed under paragraph (l)(1) of this section, except that no fees shall be charged for projects financed in excess of 50% by state funds, housing developed by an organization exempt from tax under § 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)), and projects financed under Chapters 40 and 45 of Title 31.

(3) The plan review fees shall be based on actual costs with the initial payment being based on the estimated cost of construction of the building, additions, renovation, alarm system, fire protection systems, or flammable or combustible liquid or gas installations or other miscellaneous installations required to be approved and shall not exceed the following schedule:

a. Seven tenths of 1% on July 1, 2009;

b. Three tenths of 1% over $1,000,000 of cost;

c. With respect to the provisions of paragraphs (l)(3) a. and b. of this section, the minimum fee for any plan review shall be no less than $150.

d. The State Fire Marshal must provide a schedule of reduced fees for low life hazard occupancies such as warehouses.

(4) Subdivision plan review fees shall be set at $150.

(5) The State Fire Marshal, with the approval of the State Fire Prevention Commission, where such regulations or amendments duly promulgated under the authority of the State Fire Prevention Commission require the issuing of a permit, license or certificate, is authorized to issue such permits, licenses or certificates and to establish a schedule of fees not to exceed the following schedule:

a. A maximum of $100 per fire alarm signaling system or fire suppression system, where a license is issued under the preceding provision of this section, for wholly owned or proprietary fire alarm signaling systems or fire suppression systems, serviced by the system owner.

b. A maximum of $50 for a license to service portable unit fire suppression appliances.

c. A maximum of $25 for all other permits, licenses and certifications as required in the State Fire Prevention Regulations.

d. The fees as authorized in this paragraph shall be the maximum so charged by the State Fire Prevention Commission and every 2 years shall be reviewed by the Department of Finance, the Controller General and the State Fire Marshal.

e. All fees associated with the permitting, licensing, or certification processes shall be annual fees, payable on a date as scheduled by the State Fire Marshal.

(6) It is expressly provided that said fees collected by the State Fire Marshal shall not affect the state appropriation or be deducted there from, but shall be so much additional moneys available for carrying out the provisions of this subsection, and the said fees shall be paid to the State Treasurer for accounting and deposited in a special fund in the State Treasury. Said fees included in this subsection shall not be charged for projects financed in excess of 50% by state funds, and projects financed under Chapters 40 and 45 of Title 31.

(7) The fees as authorized for the plan review process shall be the maximum allowed by the State Fire Prevention Commission and will be a cap, that every 2 years, by September 15, a review shall be conducted by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Controller General and the State Fire Marshal, based upon the revenue experience and the anticipated funding needs of the Technical Services Division of the State Fire Marshal's Office, to revise the fees according to the anticipated funding needs of the State Fire Marshal's Office Technical Services Division, incorporating the plan review, licensing and additional consultative services.

(8) The permit, licensing and plan review fee requirements of this chapter shall not apply to municipalities, towns or other subdivisions of this State or to fire companies that wish to construct improvements upon their fire stations.

(m) The State Fire Marshal, or the State Fire Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, shall have the authority to issue subpoenas in the enforcement of this chapter.

(n) Appeals to the State Fire Prevention Commission from a decision of the State Fire Marshal shall be made in accordance with the provisions of §§ 6609 and 6610 of this title.

(o) The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall have the authority to:

(1) Advise and assist fire companies, municipal corporations and districts, including agencies and departments thereof in developing measures for more effective fire and arson prevention and control;

(2) Assist and encourage cooperative efforts to solve common problems relating to fire and arson prevention and control and to serve as a clearinghouse of information about fire and arson prevention and control, about reported cases of burn injuries or wounds sustained, and about state and federal services available to assist in solving such problems;

(3) Employ or contract with individuals, agencies or corporations to assist fire companies, municipal corporations and districts in the development of an arson investigation program or in the investigation of cases of suspected arson or cases of burn injuries or wounds sustained upon the request of such an entity. However, nothing in this provision shall be construed to remove the primary responsibility for arson investigations from appropriate local jurisdictions or agencies;

(4) Establish a burn registry data bank and disseminate information relating to fire and arson prevention and control, reported cases of burn injuries or wounds sustained, and to operate a state fire reporting system. The state fire reporting system shall include a procedure for the identification of patterns of suspicious, accidental or criminal fires and for alerting appropriate state and local authorities. The fire reporting system shall also include fire incident data supplied by local fire agencies in a manner and on forms prescribed by the State Fire Marshal. To the extent practicable, the data shall be collected and maintained in a form compatible with information collected by other Delaware agencies, other states and the federal government. The State Fire Marshal shall cooperate with the Division of State Police, Insurance Department, local police, fire and health agencies, the insurance industry and other appropriate organizations in maintaining such system.

16 Del. C. 1953, §§ 6606, 6607; 50 Del. Laws, c. 469, § 1; 52 Del. Laws, c. 5, § 1; 53 Del. Laws, c. 189; 53 Del. Laws, c. 423, §§ 1, 2; 56 Del. Laws, c. 340, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 551, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 336, §§ 1, 2; 65 Del. Laws, c. 474, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 408, §§ 2-10; 69 Del. Laws, c. 283, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 291, § 273; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 21(8); 77 Del. Laws, c. 76, §§ 1-4; 77 Del. Laws, c. 444, § 4.;

(a) Each fire insurance company or association doing business in this State shall, within 30 days after the adjustment of any loss sustained by it, report to the State Fire Marshal, upon forms furnished by it, such information regarding the amount of insurance, the value of the property insured and the amount of claim as adjusted, as in the judgment of the State Fire Marshal it is necessary for the State Fire Marshal to know. This report shall be in addition to any such information required by the Insurance Commissioner.

(b) Upon the request of the owner or insurer of any property destroyed or injured by fire or explosion, or in which an attempt to cause a fire or explosion may have occurred, the State Fire Marshal, upon approval of the Attorney General's office, may make a written report to the person requesting the same of the result of the examination made by the State Fire Marshal regarding the property.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6620; 56 Del. Laws, c. 82; 77 Del. Laws, c. 444, § 4.;

(a) No person shall erect, construct, reconstruct, alter, maintain or use any building, structure or equipment or use any land in such a way to endanger life or property from the hazards of fire or explosion or in violation of any regulation or any provision of or any change thereof promulgated by the State Fire Prevention Commission under the authority of this chapter.

(b) Whoever recklessly violates such regulations, provisions or change or any provision of this chapter, with the exception of exceeding the posted occupant load in a place of assembly as outlined in subsection (c) of this section, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than 10 days or both.

(c) Whoever negligently violates the regulation of exceeding the posted occupant load in a place of assembly, as defined in the Delaware State Fire Prevention Regulations, shall be fined at least $10 but not more than $100 per person exceeding the posted occupant load as determined by the State Fire Marshal.

(d) Each and every day during which such illegal erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, maintenance or use continues after knowledge or official notice that same is illegal shall be deemed a separate offense.

(e) In case any building, structure or equipment is or is proposed to be erected, constructed, reconstructed, altered, maintained or used, or any land is or is proposed to be used in such a way to endanger life or property from the hazards of fire or explosion or in violation of this chapter or of any regulation or provision of any regulation or change thereof promulgated by the State Fire Prevention Commission under the authority granted by this chapter, the State Fire Prevention Commission, the State Fire Marshal or the Attorney General may, in addition to other remedies provided by law, institute injunction, mandamus, abatement or any other appropriate action or actions, proceeding or proceedings to prevent, enjoin, abate or remove such unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, maintenance or use.

(f) Every case of a burn injury or wound, where the victim sustained second or third degree burns to 5 percent or more of the body and/or any burns to the upper respiratory tract with laryngeal edema due to the inhalation of super-heated air, and every case of a burn injury or wound which is likely to or may result in death, shall be reported to the Office of State Fire Marshal. The State Fire Marshal shall accept the report and notify the proper investigatory agency. The report shall be provided to the Office of the State Fire Marshal within 72 hours of the initial treatment. The report shall be made by:

(1) The physician attending or treating the case; or

(2) The manager, superintendent or other person in charge, whenever such case is treated in a hospital or other health care facility. The intentional failure to make such report is a class A misdemeanor.

(g) The State Fire Marshal, or the Marshal's Deputy or Deputies, may make arrests of persons violating offenses under this section or of persons violating any of the laws of this State relating to fires or burning.

(h) Justices of the Peace shall have jurisdiction over offenses under this section.

(i) All moneys derived from a violation of subsection (c) of this section shall be placed in a special fund to be used by the State Fire Marshal to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Fines that are a result of violations of this chapter that occur within the jurisdiction of the jurisdictional Fire Marshals shall be placed in a separate special fund to be used in that jurisdiction to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6611; 52 Del. Laws, c. 5, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 169; 55 Del. Laws, c. 170; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 34, §§ 1-3; 74 Del. Laws, c. 350, §§ 1, 2; 77 Del. Laws, c. 444, § 4.;

For the purpose of advising and making recommendations to the State Fire Marshal in connection with any matters relating to the State Fire Marshal, there is hereby created the State Fire Marshal's Advisory Board. The Advisory Board shall be comprised of 6 members appointed by the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters' Association. Two members shall come from New Castle County, 2 from Kent County and 2 from Sussex County. Each member of the Advisory Board shall serve at the pleasure of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters' Association. The Advisory Board shall choose a Chairperson and shall meet thereafter at the call of the Chairperson of the Advisory Board, or the State Fire Marshal.

16 Del. C. 1953, § 6618; 54 Del. Laws, c. 318, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 246, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 400, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 378, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 444, § 4.;

Any and all records and reports compiled by the State Fire Marshal's office resulting from the State's Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Program, including, but not limited to, case histories, interviews and findings, shall be considered confidential and privileged and shall not be disclosed directly or indirectly to anyone other than Family Court, the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorneys General and the employees of the State Fire Marshal's office in the discharge of their official duties. Such records and reports shall not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act pursuant to Chapter l00 of Title 29 and shall not be subject to any subpoena powers of any court.

69 Del. Laws, c. 395, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 444, § 4.;