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A fire marshal, in the United States and Canada, is often a member of a fire department but may be part of a building department or a separate department altogether. Fire marshal's duties vary but usually include fire code enforcement and/or investigating fires for origin and cause. Fire marshals may be sworn law-enforcement officers and are often experienced firefighters.

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A fire marshal's duties vary by location. Fire marshals may carry a weapon, wear a badge, and make arrests pertaining to arson and related offenses, or, in other localities, may have duties entirely separate from law enforcement, including building- and fire-code-related inspections. In many states and provinces, the fire marshal is responsible for enforcing laws concerning flammable materials.

The US definition of a fire marshal should not be confused with that of the UK. Fire marshals, sometimes known as fire wardens in the UK, are civilians trained to assist in fire safety procedures at businesses and other organizations, usually employees.[1]. However, UK fire and rescue services - FRS - do provide fire marshal training, aimed at fire prevention.

In the UK, the senior fire officer is responsible for firefighting operations, and cases of arson are investigated by the police. No UK FRS has fire officers with powers of arrest, although some FRS do have their own specialist fire investigation teams, who act as expert witnesses.

Also in the UK Fire Inspecting officers (Fire Safety Officers) enforce legislative fire safety law, and whilst they are unable to make an arrest they can place subjects under caution and prosecute anyone who has failed to comply with fire safety laws. They also have the authority to close unsafe premises and investigate any actual perceived fire safety offence.

Canadian Fire Marshals - Ontario Edit

Canadian Fire Marshals provide adivory services to local fire departments and assist in code writing and enforcement.

California Fire MarshalEdit

Like most states, Californian Fire marshals are typically associated with a city or region's local fire department. Yet, California has two additional authorities that hold the official designations of Fire Marshal. [1] is the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It is tasked with the building code enforcement of all structures and occupancies within the state. They have the authority to issue building permits, conduct building inspections and investigate code violations. California Fire marshals are designated peace officers. [2]

The second authority designated as Fire Marshals is the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development ( OSHPD ) who is the state building official for all California Hospitals. They are tasked with the structural, electrical and fire/life safety reliability of all hospital construction in the state. This responsibility is paramount in California, due to the frequency and intensity of earthquake seismic activity it experiences.

Florida Fire Marshal Edit

The office of the Florida State Fire Marshal:

Oregon Fire Marshals Edit

Information on Oregon Fire Marshals:

Burlington, New Jersey Fire Marshal Edit

Burlington represents a typical well-run county organization.

Kansas State Fire Marshal Edit

A highly professional organization.

New York City fire marshals Edit

New York City's Bureau of Fire Investigation, an elite division of the FDNY, currently deploys about 100 fire marshals and 40 supervising fire marshals. The position of fire marshal is a promotional civil service title and all officers have served several years as active firefighters. Unlike many other jurisdictions, the New York marshals are armed police officers with full powers of arrest who generally work in pairs and investigate serious fires. Marshals undergo comprehensive police training to include annual weapons qualification at Camp Smith for all officers with all firearms available to the N.Y.P.D., including shotguns and submachine guns. Often, investigations are conducted in cooperation with the New York Police Department, with whom they have a close relationship. Many fire marshals are former N.Y.P.D. officers. In a typical year they are assigned about 4,000 fires within the five boroughs of the city. New York Fire Marshals often receive special training at the F.B.I. academy in Quantico, as well as attending investigative classes conducted by the N.Y.P.D. Marshals also are now attending federal explosives training classes sponsored by the Federal Government at Socorro New Mexico.

The city's first fire marshal, George H. Sheldon, was appointed in 1873, eight years after the reorganization of the fire department into a career department in 1865. Robert O. Lowery became the first African-American fire marshal in 1946. Lowery would ultimately rise to the top of the department, being appointed the city's fire commissioner in 1965.

Fire marshals have conducted a number of significant investigations, including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. They investigate insurance fraud involving arson, and more recently, potential terrorism. They also function as expert witnesses in arson cases. At times New York fire marshals work undercover and conduct surveillance operations. They also coordinate with federal, state and local law enforcement because arsonists are frequently involved in other criminal activity as well, and some investigations, like the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, require multiple agencies' skills.

No fire marshal had ever died in the line of duty until September 11, 2001 when Marshals Ronald Paul Bucca and James Devery, disregarding danger, rushed into the World Trade Center to assist in the rescue of fire victims. Devery led a wounded woman to safety, but Bucca, badge 317, a decorated Vietnam combat war veteran, died on the 78th floor of the south tower, one floor below the aircraft impact. Ironically, the pair had worked on the 1993 investigation at the same site.

Washington Fire Marshals Edit

The Office of the State Fire Marshal provides services including incident reporting, data collection, code review, construction plan fire safety, fireworks and supervision of sprinkler installation.

References Edit


Firearms : Under New York State Consolidated Laws Article 35.00 section 35.20 "deadly physical force may be used in order to terminate or prevent commission of arson."

Professional training outside the state at the F.B.I. academy at Quantico Virginia and other locations for New York City Marshals was made possible through federal counter-terror grants, subsequent to 9/11, actively supported by Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

New York State Executive Law, article 6c, sec 159, created an arson control board that mandated every jurisdiction prepare an arson control plan and a strong coordinated arson control program to include certification of investigators in complience with NFPA 921 and UFPA 1033. A state standard of level I and level II fire investigator certification was developed. New York City Fire Marshal's training exceeds the requirements of level II.

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