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Code of Ordinance Chapter 8
Code of Ordinance Chapter 8 "Fire Prevention and Protection" revised 2-16-17

NOTE: Permit Fees are established in MGL 148 Section 10A

 … A fee of $25 may be charged by the head of the fire department for any permit granted under this section, unless otherwise set in a town by the board of selectmen or town council, or in a city by the mayor, but such fee shall not exceed $50 except as provided in this paragraph. If a smoke detector inspection, conducted pursuant to section 26F, and a carbon monoxide alarm inspection, conducted pursuant to section 26F½, are conducted simultaneously, the owner shall not be subject to an additional fee for the carbon monoxide alarm inspection. The fee for either a carbon monoxide alarm inspection or a smoke detector inspection, conducted separately, shall not exceed: $50 for a single-family dwelling or a single dwelling unit; $100 for a 2 family dwelling; $150 for any building or structure with 6 or fewer residential units; and $500 for any building or structure with more than 6 units.

Chapter 8 - FIRE PREVENTION AND PROTECTION

Footnotes:

--- (1) ---

Cross reference— Powers and duties of city electrician relative to fire alarms and police signals systems, § 2-136; buildings and building regulations, ch. 5; establishment of fire district, § 5-17; interference with fire alarm telegraph by moving of buildings, § 5-29; electrical regulations, § 5-40 et seq.; reward for information resulting in arrests and conviction of arsonists, § 14-9; alarm system, § 14-26 et seq.

State Law reference— Fires, fire departments and fire districts, M.G.L. c. 48; fire prevention, M.G.L. c. 148.

ARTICLE I. - IN GENERAL

Sec. 8-1. - License for storing inflammables; fees.

(a)   Upon application to the city council for a license to store inflammables, the applicant shall be responsible for payment of fees for advertising and postage for legal notices to all abutters.

(b)   Upon approval of the application to store inflammable, the license fee therefor shall be $100.00.

(c)   The annual fee for renewal of certificate of registration shall be $25.00.

(Ord. of 7-13-1982, § 1)

State Law reference— Licenses for storage of inflammables, M.G.L. c. 148, § 13.

Sec. 8-2. - Permit for transportation, storage and use of explosives.

No person shall transport, store or use any explosives named in M.G.L. c. 148, § 9, within the city without a permit from the fire chief, acting as the agent of the state fire marshal.

(Code 1970, § 9-1)

State Law reference— Municipal authority to regulate explosives, M.G.L. c. 148, § 9.

Sec. 8-3. - Public display of fireworks after 10:30 p.m.

No public display of fireworks shall commence or continue after 10:30 p.m. The fire chief, at the time when any display is scheduled, may extend this period for not more than one hour in the event of inclement weather or on account of conditions which he might deem to be an emergency.

(Code 1970, § 9-2)

Cross reference— Amusements, ch. 3.

Secs. 8-48-14. - Reserved.

ARTICLE II. - FIRE DEPARTMENT

Sec. 8-15. - Established.

There is hereby established a department of the city to be known as the fire department.

Sec. 8-16. - Fire chief.

(a)   The mayor shall appoint the fire chief who shall hold the office for a term of at least three years but no more than five years. The appointment of the fire chief shall be subject to confirmation by the city council. The fire chief is exempt from the provisions of M.G.L c. 31.

(b)   Within three business days of the position of the fire chief being declared vacant, the mayor shall appoint a temporary fire chief who shall serve until a permanent chief is selected in accordance with the provisions hereof.

(Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. 9-10-2013(217))

Editor's note— An ordinance adopted Jan. 11, 2011, repealed § 8-16 and enacted a new section as set out herein. The former § 8-16 pertained to composition of the fire department and derived from § 9-15 of the 1970 Code.

Sec. 8-17. - Selection of fire chief—Qualifications.

The fire chief shall be selected by the mayor and have the following qualifications or equivalent qualifications as the mayor deems appropriate:

(1)   The fire chief shall be a fire safety professional with 15 years or its equivalent experience in federal, state, county, municipal or military firefighting, at least five years or its equivalent shall be in a progressively responsible fire safety management position;

(2)   The fire chief shall have a Bachelor's Degree. Related experience or other educational background may be substituted for an undergraduate degree.

(3)   Preference maybe given to candidates who have experience with the following:

a.    A multi-lingual and multi-cultural fire safety environment in municipalities with a population of 30,000 or more residents and possess managerial experience in the command structure similar to the city fire department;

b.    A second language reflecting the linguistic diversity of the citizens of the city;

c.    Holding the minimum rank of deputy chief or higher for a minimum of three years in a fire fighting environment or equivalent experience or demonstrated expertise;

d.    A nationally recognized fire leadership program or its equivalent;

e.    Financial management, innovations in fire operations, and information technology as it pertains to fire safety;

f.     Labor relations, community relations, mediation and facilitation skills; and including staff development and training;

g.    The equivalent education, skills, and experience may be substituted for any of the above.

(Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Editor's note— An ordinance adopted Jan. 11, 2011, repealed § 8-17 and enacted a new section as set out herein. The former § 8-17 pertained to appointments of the fire department and derived from § 9-16 of the 1970 Code.

Sec. 8-18. - Screening of fire chief—Manner of appointment.

(a)   The candidates for fire chief shall be reviewed by a screening committee consisting of the following nine individuals:

(1)   The personnel director;

(2)   One member of the city council to be appointed by the president of the city council;

(3)   Two members of the general public to be appointed by the president of the city council, with at least one of said members being a representative of the city's socioeconomic and racial and ethnic segments;

(4)   Three members of the general public to be appointed by the mayor with at least one of said members being a representative of the city's socioeconomic and racial and ethnic segments;

(5)   A public safety official appointed by the mayor;

(6)   Present or former member of the city fire department appointed by the mayor.

The committee shall elect a chair and vice-chair from its members. The mayor may appoint appropriate support personnel to facilitate the operations of the screening committee.

(b)   The mayor shall select a qualified recruitment and assessment consultant to assist the screening committee with its analysis of candidates for fire chief. The consultant and the screening committee may hold public meetings to develop the selection criteria. The personnel director and the consultant shall recruit qualified candidates and administer the selection process. The process may consist of, without limitation, a professionally administered assessment center and a psychological evaluation.

(c)   After the assessment center has been completed, the screening committee shall hold public interviews of the finalists. The committee shall vote a list of no more than five and no less than three unranked qualified candidates for fire chief and shall submit such list to the mayor. All votes taken by the screening committee shall be by majority vote of those present. If the screening committee determines that there are fewer than three candidates for fire chief, the screening committee shall nonetheless send the names of the candidate(s) to the mayor. The mayor may choose to commence a new selection process if the screening committee submits a list of fewer than three candidates or for any other reason designated in writing.

(d)   The mayor shall appoint a candidate from the list, subject to a comprehensive background test and confirmation of the city council. Prior to confirmation, the city council shall be provided with a copy of the contract negotiated with the candidate selected by the mayor. The contract may not be subsequently amended without the approval of the city council. The term of the contract shall be for at least three years but no more than five years.

(e)   Upon such time as the mayor shall become aware of a vacancy in the office of fire chief, the mayor shall notify the city council that a vacancy has occurred within three business days. The mayor shall thereafter commence the process to fill the vacancy, in the manner prescribed herein.

(Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 3-27-2012(02); Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Editor's note— An ordinance adopted Jan. 11, 2011, renumbered the former §§ 8-18—8-25 as §§ 8-21—8-28 and enacted new §§ 8-18—8-21 as set out herein. The historical notation has been retained with the amended provisions for reference purposes.

Sec. 8-19. - Powers and duties of fire chief.

The fire chief shall manage the fire department. He/she shall be responsible for the discipline and efficiency of the department. He/she shall have control of the department, its officers and members, the care of the fire stations, the care and custody of all the property of the department and shall keep a record of its business.

(Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-20. - Composition.

The fire department shall consist of the fire chief, who is not subject to the civil service laws, and as many officers, mechanics, inspectors and firefighters subject to the civil service laws as may be deemed necessary. The department may also include supporting administrative staff.

(Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-21. - Qualifications and appointment of firefighters.

(a)   The mayor shall have the power to appoint all firefighters who shall hold their office at the discretion of the mayor subject to the laws pertaining to civil service and to the collective bargaining agreement. The fire chief is exempt from civil service laws and the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. All firefighters are required to be citizens of the United States and within nine months of his/her appointment, to reside within 15 miles of the limits of the city as required by M.G.L. c. 41 § 99A.

(b)   Appointment of fire fighter shall be subject to the age restrictions (32 years or veterans of up to 36 years) of M.G.L. c. 31, § 58A.

(c)   Any firefighter of the fire department who shall fail to meet the requirements of subsection (a) of this section may be discharged from the department in accordance with the provisions of civil service regulations and any applicable contract.

(d)   All newly hired city firefighters shall attend the recruit training program at the state firefighting academy with satisfactory completion of the recruit training program be a condition of employment. Completion of the program shall be, whenever possible, with the employees' probationary period prescribed by M.G.L. c. 31, § 61. If a firefighter begins the recruit training program during the probationary period, the probationary period shall be suspended until the firefighter completes the program. If the probationary period would expire prior to the firefighter entering the academy, the mayor will make a written request to the personnel administrator to extend the probationary period until the program is completed.

(Code 1970, §§ 9-18, 9-23; Ord. No. 4-1992, § I, 2-11-1992; Ord. 6-1992, § I, 2-18-1992; Ord. No. 34-1995, § I, 6-13-1995; Ord. No. 47-1995, § I, 11-14-1995; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 3-22-2011(01); Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

State Law reference— Qualifications of municipal firefighters, M.G.L. c. 31, § 58.

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-22. - Physical examination of firefighters.

All firefighters appointed to the fire department shall pass the physical examination required by the civil service department of the commonwealth, as well as a city physical.

(Code 1970, § 9-17; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

State Law reference— Civil service provisions dealing with firemen, M.G.L. c. 31, §61A et seq.

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-23. - Appointees must signify willingness to obey rules.

Before becoming a firefighter in any capacity, any person so appointed shall signify his agreement to abide by the rules and regulations of the department and all laws laid down for firefighters by duly constituted authorities, and shall signify his willingness to carry out the duties and orders given him by the officers of the department.

(Code 1970, § 9-19; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-24. - Firefighters to have motor vehicle license.

Every person who shall become a firefighter shall be required to possess a valid state motor vehicle operator's license.

(Code 1970, § 9-20; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-25. - Military substitutes.

A military substitute shall be considered a firefighter, if appointed as a military substitute for a firefighter. Any such military substitute shall be entitled to all of the benefits and privileges and be subject to all the rules and regulations of the firefighter whose place he is taking for as long as he shall fill the position of such military substitute.

(Code 1970, § 9-26; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-26. - Fire chief to act as forest warden.

The fire chief, in addition to his other duties, shall have, possess and exercise the powers and duties heretofore exercised by the forest warden.

(Code 1970, § 9-27; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

Cross reference— Officers and employees, § 2-40 et seq.

State Law reference— Forest wardens, M.G.L. c. 48, § 8 et seq.

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-27. - Aid to other cities, towns or fire districts.

The fire chief or, during his absence, the senior on-duty fire officer shall have the authority to take both apparatus and firefighters to the aid of another city, town or fire district for the purpose of extinguishing fires therein. While in the performance of their duties in extending such aid, the firefighters shall have the same immunities and privileges as if performing the same within the city.

(Code 1970, § 9-31; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

State Law reference— Municipal authority to provide aid to other cities, towns and fire districts, M.G.L. c. 48, § 59A.

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Sec. 8-28. - Destruction of buildings to prevent spread of fire.

Whenever it shall be determined by the fire chief or the designated incident commander, that it is necessary to pull down or demolish any building in order to prevent the spread of any fire, the authority is hereby vested in the chief or deputy chief so to do.

(Code 1970, § 9-32; Ord. of 1-11-2011; Ord. of 9-10-2013(217))

State Law reference— Powers of fire officials; demolition of buildings, M.G.L. c. 48, § 4.

Note— See the editor's note to § 8-18.

Secs. 8-29—8-41. - Reserved.

ARTICLE III. - FIRE PREVENTION CODE

Sec. 8-42. - Duties of the bureau of fire prevention.

(a)   The Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code 527 CMR 1 shall be enforced by the bureau of fire prevention, which is hereby established, in the fire department of the city and which shall operate under the supervision of the chief of the fire department.

(b)   A deputy chief shall be assigned in charge of the bureau of fire prevention. His assignment shall continue during good behavior and satisfactory service, and he shall not be removed except for cause.

(c)   The chief of the fire department may detail such members of the fire department as inspector, as shall from time to time, be necessary.

(d)   A report of the bureau of fire prevention shall be made annually by deputy chief of the fire prevention bureau and transmitted to the fire chief and chief executive officer of the municipality; it shall contain all proceedings under this code; with such statistics as the chief of the fire department may wish to include therein; the chief of the fire department shall also recommend any amendments to these ordinances, which in his judgment, shall be desirable.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 2)

Sec. 8-44. - Limits of districts in which storage of explosives and blasting agents prohibited.

The storage of explosives and blasting agents is prohibited in Fire District No. 1, as set forth in the building code of the city.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 4)

Sec. 8-45. - Reserved.

Editor's note— Ord. No. 114-1998, § I, adopted August 3, 1998, repealed § 8-45 which pertained to establishment of limits of districts in which storage of flammable fluids in outside aboveground tanks is to be prohibited and derived from § 5 of an ordinance adopted October 2, 1979.

Sec. 8-46. - Limits in which bulk storage of liquefied petroleum gases prohibited.

Bulk storage of liquefied petroleum gas is restricted in any area in the city not zoned for business or industrial use.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 6)

Sec. 8-47. - Routes for vehicles transporting explosives and blasting agents.

The route for vehicles transporting explosives and blasting agents shall be established by the bureau of fire prevention upon written application for a permit to transport explosives or blasting agents in the city.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 7)

Sec. 8-48. - Vehicles transporting hazardous chemicals or other dangerous articles.

The routes for vehicles transporting hazardous chemicals or other dangerous articles shall be established by the bureau of fire prevention upon written application for a permit to transport hazardous chemicals or other dangerous articles in the city.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 8)

Sec. 8-49. - Fire lanes on private or public property devoted to public use.

The fire lanes referred to in 527 CMR 1 may be established upon written application to the fire chief. The application shall be made by the proper person stating the width and route of such lanes with specific description thereof.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 9)

Secs. 8-50—8-51. - Reserved.

Sec. 8-52. - Appeals.

Appeals of decisions by the fire chief or his designee related to a direct question of fire or explosion hazard shall directed to the State Fire Marshal within 10 days of the act, order or decision as prescribed in 525 CMR 1 Section 1.05.

Appeals of decisions by the fire chief or his designee related to fire protection requirements for buildings or structures shall be directed to the Fire prevention regulations appeals board within 45 days of the act, rule, order, decision, requirement or directive as prescribed in MGL 22D Section 5.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 12)

Sec. 8-54. - Penalties.

As established by M.G.L. 148 § 34C and M.G.L. 148A.

 (Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 14)

Sec. 8-55. - Repeal of conflicting ordinances.

(a)   All former ordinances or parts thereof conflicting or inconsistent with the provisions of this article or of the code hereby adopted are hereby repealed.

(b)   Specific reference is hereby made to the city ordinance of September 2, 1965, an ordinance creating a fire prevention code, prescribing regulations governing conditions hazardous to life and property from fire or explosion, and establishing a bureau of fire prevention and providing officers therefor and defining their powers and duties.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 15)

Sec. 8-56. - Validity.

The city council hereby declares that should any section, paragraph, sentence or word of this article or of the code hereby adopted be declared for any reason to be invalid, it is the intent of the city council that it would have passed all other portions of this article independent of the elimination therefrom of any such portion as may be declares invalid.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 16)

Sec. 8-57. - Savings clause.

Nothing in this article hereby adopted shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding impending in any court, or any rights acquired, or liability incurred, or any cause or causes of action acquired or existing, under any act or ordinance hereby repealed; nor shall any just or legal right or remedy of any character be lost, impaired or affected by this article.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 17)

Sec. 8-58. - Date of effect.

This article is subject to the approval of the mayor and shall become effective on and after 31 days from the date of ordainment.

(Ord. of 10-2-1979, § 18)

Sec. 8-59. - Fire Department Access to Property

  1. Key Boxes

a)      When a property is protected by an automatic alarm system or a system of automatic sprinklers or access to or within a structure or an area on that property is unduly difficult because of secured openings and where immediate access is necessary for life saving or firefighting purposes, the fire chief or his designee may require a key box to be installed in an approved location.

b)      The key box shall be listed in accordance with UL 1037 and a type approved by the Gloucester fire department.

c)      The owner or person in control of the building or facility shall cause to be placed in the key box easily identified keys for the following areas:

1)      Locked points of access in the exterior of the building or facility

2)      Locked points of access to common areas, such as hallways or utility rooms

3)      Locked mechanical rooms

4)      Locked electrical rooms

5)      All other locked areas’ other than individual apartments or rented rooms, as directed by the fire chief or his designee.

  1. Access to Gated Properties

a)      All gated properties in the city of Gloucester shall provide a means of entry into the property to the fire department for emergency response. The device or system provided shall be approved by the fire chief or his designee.

  1. Access Maintenance

a)      The owner or person in control of the building or facility provided with a key box required by A and B of this section shall notify the fire chief when access is modified and fire department access is impacted. Updated keys shall be made available for placement into the key box.

Sec. 8-60 - Automatic Sprinklers in new or substantially rehabilitated residential structures containing four (4) or more dwelling units:

a)      All new or substantially rehabilitated motels and hotels with more than four (4) units shall install a residential sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13R. If such structure exceeds four (4) stories in height, a suitable automatic sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13 shall be installed.

b)      All new or substantially rehabilitated residential structures containing four (4) or more units shall be protected with an approved system of automatic sprinklers in accordance with NFPA 13D.

c)      All new or substantially rehabilitated structures with mixed residential/nonresidential uses with four or more residences shall be equipped with approved automatic sprinklers in accordance with the provisions of 780 CMR, The Massachusetts State Building Code.

State Law reference— Multiple dwelling units; new construction; automatic sprinkler systems, M.G.L. c. 148, § 26I.


Sec. 8-61 – Chimineas and outdoor fireplaces

  1. The use of a chiminea or outdoor fireplace is allowed without a permit from the fire department provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The fire and/or smoke does not pose a hazard to any property;
  2. The smoke does not create a nuisance or health hazard in the neighborhood;
  3. Only ordinary firewood shall be burned in the chiminea or outside fireplace; no construction debris, leaves, household trash, hazardous waste, or chemicals may be burned at any time;
  4. The chiminea or outdoor fireplace shall be on a non-combustible surface at grade-level (i.e. not on a deck) and is not under any type of overhang, roof, or canopy;
  5. A water supply or fire extinguisher capable of extinguishing the fire is within 75 feet of the chiminea or outdoor fireplace;
  6. The fire shall be constantly attended by a competent person until the fire is extinguished;
  7. Fires shall not be located within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material;
  8. All conditions that could cause fire to spread from the area adjacent to the device shall be eliminated prior to ignition;
  9. Flammable liquids shall not be used to ignite the fire

  1. The fire chief or his designee may order any outside fire permitted by this section to be extinguished in response to a complaint or hazardous condition.

State Law Reference - M.G.L. c. 48, § 13.



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