Borough of Highland Park, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Highland Park by Ord. No. 181 (§ 2-13 of the 1987 Code); amended by Ord. No. 425; Ord. No. 442; Ord. No. 530. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Officers and employees — See Ch. 57.
Personnel policies — See Ch. 61.
Police Department — See Ch. 64.

§ 39-1 Establishment.

[Amended by Ord. No. 957]
A. 
A Fire Department is established in and for the Borough to be known as "Highland Park Fire Department." The Fire Department shall consist of as many Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department members as may be confirmed by the Borough Council. There shall be paid career members of the Department to be appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by the Borough Council, to perform such duties as may be fixed for them by the Public Safety Committee, the Borough Council and/or their designee and/or Chief of the Fire Department. The rate of compensation of the paid members of the Department shall be fixed and determined by the Borough Council.
B. 
The Fire Department shall be divided into so many companies and kinds of companies as the Borough Council shall provide by ordinance and each Company shall each consist of not more than 25 members.
C. 
The members and officers of the Fire Department as established at the time of the adoption of this chapter shall continue as such member and officers until further members or officers are elected as herein provided.
D. 
The members of the Fire Department may adopt a Constitution, By-Laws and Rules of Order, provided there shall be nothing therein contained which shall conflict with any law of the State of New Jersey or any present or future provision of this chapter.
E. 
The Constitution and By-Laws may provide for the election of new members, and the expulsion of members; provided, however, that no such election, or expulsion shall become effective until approved by the Borough Council.
F. 
The companies in existence at the time of the adoption of this chapter shall be known as Engine Company Number One, Engine Company Number Two and Truck Company Number Three and any further companies organized by virtue of this chapter shall be distinguished by words signifying the number and kind of company.

§ 39-2 Officers.

[Amended by Ord. No. 957]
A. 
The officers of the Fire Department shall consist of a Chief, First Assistant Chief and Second Assistant Chief.
B. 
The officers of each Company shall consist of a Captain, Lieutenant, Engineer, Assistant Engineer and two Fire Police.
C. 
The members of the Fire Department who shall have been confirmed by the Borough Council, and whose names appear upon the roll of firemen which shall be submitted to and approved by the Borough Council at its first regular meeting of the month of January in each year, shall, on the first Tuesday in the month of December in the year 1982, and on the first Tuesday in the month of December each alternate year thereafter, elect from among their own members a Chief of the Fire Department, a First Assistant Chief and a Second Assistant Chief. The election shall be held at the headquarters of the Fire Department and in such manner as may be provided by the Constitution and By-Laws of the Fire Department, provided that the Constitution and by-laws shall not be in any way in contradiction to any local ordinance, state and federal statutes, if any, and if such contradiction exists, then the latter law shall apply.
D. 
The election of such Chief, First Assistant Chief and Second Assistant Chief shall not become effective unless confirmed by the Borough Council. The terms of office of the Chief, First Assistant Chief and Second Assistant Chief shall not become effective unless confirmed by the Borough Council. The terms of office of the Chief, First Assistant Chief and Second Assistant Chief shall be two years from the first day of January of the year that confirmation takes place and/or until their successors shall be elected and confirmed. In case any person elected to any of such offices shall not be confirmed by the Borough Council at its next regular meeting after such election, another election shall be ordered by the Borough Council. No resignation of any officer shall become effective until submitted to and accepted by the Borough Council. In the absence or disability of the Chief or Assistant Chiefs, the Company Captain shall automatically be invested with the responsibilities and powers of Acting Chief (Senior Captain prevails as designated by the Chief). Probationary members shall not have the right to vote under this subsection.
E. 
A Captain and a Lieutenant for each Company shall be elected on the first Tuesday in the month of December in the year that the Chief and First and Second Assistant Chiefs of the Fire Department are elected by the members of their respective Companies, whose names appear on the roll of firemen aforesaid, at an election to be held at the headquarters of the Fire Department.
F. 
All the officers shall hold office for the terms herein provided or until their successors shall have been duly elected.

§ 39-3 Upkeep of fire apparatus and buildings.

It shall be the duty of the members of the Fire Department to attend to the fire apparatus committed to their charge and the buildings in which they are kept, but nothing shall be construed as affecting the right of the Borough to control the apparatus and the use and occupancy of the fire house and buildings belonging to the Borough.

§ 39-4 Membership requirements.

[Amended by Ord. No. 712]
Every member of the Fire Department shall be at least 18 years of age and not more than 40 years of age at the time of his election thereto, and shall furnish a doctor's certificate showing his physical fitness to perform the duties of a fireman.

§ 39-5 Chain of command.

[Amended by Ord. No. 966]
With respect to fire and fire-related activities, except those responsibilities now or hereafter designated by state law or regulation, or by local ordinance for the Fire Sub-Code Official, Fire Inspector and/or Fire Supervisor, the Chief, and if applicable, his successors in the chain of command as set forth herein, in all cases shall have the sole and absolute control and command over all persons attached to the Department, and he shall direct their operations at all fires and fire-related emergencies so as most effectively to prevent the destruction of life and property. In the absence of the Chief, his successors in the chain of command as set forth herein, shall take prompt and efficient measures and use the means of the department to extinguish the same and shall also have the sole and absolute control over all the apparatus of the Department and over all persons aiding or assisting in the Department in such cases. In the event that a response to a fire alarm is effected and the Chief, First Assistant Chief, and the Second Assistant Chief are not yet present at the fire scene, then, and only then shall the control and command of the fire personnel present at the fire scene be assumed by the senior career fireman, and further, the control and command shall be relinquished immediately by the next higher ranking officer upon his arrival at the fire scene.

§ 39-6 Record of alarms of fire and fire damage.

The Chief shall keep a record of all alarms of fire within the Borough, the cause of same, and a description of the property damaged or destroyed and at a regular meeting of the Borough Council in the month of August in each year, he shall present a report showing the number of alarms of fire and the number of fires which have occurred during the preceding year, the amount of loss by fire as near as can be ascertained and also the condition of the fire house and apparatus with such recommendations as he may deem necessary and proper.

§ 39-7 Complaints of misconduct in performance of duties.

All complaints initiated by the Chief, First Assistant Chief, Second Assistant Chief, Captain, Lieutenants, Engineers, Assistant Engineers, against any member of the Volunteer Fire Department for misconduct in the performance of his duties, shall be forthwith reported by the Chief to the Borough Council. Any member of the Volunteer Fire Department complained of as above, may be suspended by the Chief, pending a hearing and disposition by the Borough Council, which shall be no later than 45 days from the date of service of the Complaint upon such member. The delineation of persons empowered to issue complaints, set forth above, shall not preclude the Borough Administrator or members of the Borough Council from initiating complaints.

§ 39-8 Fire Patrol.

The Fire Patrol to be elected shall not enter upon the performance of their duties until their election shall have been confirmed by the Borough Council and it shall be the duty of such Fire Patrol and such firemen as they call to their assistance to maintain order at fires and keep all unauthorized persons outside the Fire Zone.

§ 39-9 Use of fire apparatus outside Borough limits.

[Amended by Ord. No. 957]
No fire apparatus belonging to the Borough shall be taken beyond the limits of the Borough without the consent of the Borough Council and/or their designee except that in the case of any fire outside the limits of the Borough, the Mayor or any member of the Public Safety Committee, and/or their designee, the Chief or Acting Chief may permit such apparatus to go outside the limits of the Borough to render aid in extinguishing fires.

§ 39-10 Fire prevention.

[Added 12-7-2010 by Ord. No. 10-1798]
A. 
Local enforcement. Pursuant to Section 11 of the Uniform Fire Safety Act,[1] P.L. 1983, c. 383 of the Laws of the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code shall be enforced locally in the Borough of Highland Park, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 5:70-1 et seq., by the County of Middlesex as the county enforcing agency.
[Amended 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1849]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq.
B. 
Definition of local enforcing agency. The local enforcing agency shall be the County of Middlesex, Department of Public Safety and Health.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848; 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1849]
C. 
Powers and duties. The County of Middlesex, pursuant to § 39-10B above, shall enforce the Uniform Fire Safety Act, codes and regulations adopted for all buildings, structures and premises within the established boundaries of the Borough of Highland Park and shall faithfully comply with the requirements of the Uniform Fire Safety Act and the Uniform Fire Code.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848]
D. 
(Reserved)[2]
[2]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection D, Life-hazard uses, as amended, was repealed 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1849.
E. 
(Reserved)[3]
[3]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection E, Organization, as amended, was repealed 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1849.
F. 
Powers and duties of Fire Official. In addition to the duties set forth in Uniform Fire Safety Act,[4] P.L. 1983, c. 383 of the Laws of the State of New Jersey and Uniform Fire Code, the Fire Official shall:
(1) 
Prepare and submit a monthly activity report to the Borough Administrator and Council Liaison.
(2) 
Recommend to the Borough Administrator and Council Liaison such amendments to the Code as deemed necessary to provide firesafety.
[4]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq.
G. 
Additional required inspection and fees. In addition to the inspections or fees required pursuant to the Uniform Fire Safety Act and the regulations of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the following additional inspections and fees shall be required.
(1) 
Inspections.
(a) 
Except for one- and two-family owner-occupied dwellings used exclusively for dwelling purposes, the County of Middlesex shall inspect annually all buildings, businesses, structures or premises to ascertain and cause to be corrected any conditions liable to cause fire, contribute to the spread of fire, interfere with firefighter operations, or endanger life or any conditions constituting violations of the provisions of intent of this chapter or other firesafety or life-safety requirements. Upon completion of such inspection and the abatement of violations, the County of Middlesex shall issue to the owner or occupant of the building, structure or premises a firesafety certificate of compliance.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848]
(b) 
New businesses are required to have a new business fire inspection and all subsequent reinspections prior to opening the new business to the public. If no imminent hazard(s) set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.16 exists, the Fire Official or Fire Inspector shall allow a business to open prior to reinspection.
(2) 
Registration and fees. The owner(s) of all buildings, businesses, structures or premises required to be inspected under Subsection G(1) shall register with the County of Middlesex annually. Such registration shall be made on forms provided by the County of Middlesex. It shall be a violation of this code for an owner to fail to return such forms within 30 days of issuance. Every property owner required to file a registration statement shall file an amended registration within seven days after the occurrence of any change which would render any information contained in a registration statement inaccurate. With the exception of life-hazard uses registered pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:70, registrations shall be accompanied by fees in accordance with the fees charged by the County of Middlesex, Department of Public Safety and Health.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848; 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1849]
(3) 
Waivers.
(a) 
The following users shall be exempt from the local permit and registration fees:
[1] 
The Highland Park Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
[2] 
The Highland Park First Aid Squad.
[3] 
Place of worship. This shall apply to uses where the actual religious service takes place, uses for religious education purposes or uses of an occasional nature.
[4] 
Contractors and construction firms, when the activity is part of work performed under a valid permit issued by the Building Department.
[5] 
Borough of Highland Park.
[6] 
Highland Park Board of Education.
(b) 
Notwithstanding any exemption from local permit and registration fee set forth in this subsection, there shall be no exemption from any permit or registration requirement or from any other provisions of this section.
(4) 
Special events. When determined by the Fire Official to be necessary for the purpose of public safety to have a Fire Inspector present during special events, the owner, operator, organizer, sponsor, person, or organization responsible for said event shall compensate the cost of said Inspector at the rate of $100 per hour for the duration of the event.
(5) 
Fire watch. If the Fire Official, Fire Inspector, representative of the County of Middlesex, paid personnel or member of a volunteer fire company is required to inspect, monitor, or patrol a building other than a one- or two-family owner-occupied building to detect circumstances that might immediately result in a fire while a building's fire protection system is inoperative, the owner of said building shall reimburse the Borough for said fire-watch services at the rate of $200 per hour. There shall be a minimum fee of $200, provided that no fee shall be assessed if, within 30 minutes of being notified of the commencement of the fire-watch services, the building owner or his or her representative arrives at the building and assumes control of the fire-watch from the Fire Official, Fire Inspector, representative of the County of Middlesex, paid personnel or member of the volunteer fire company. The cost of providing fire-watch services shall be certified by the Fire Official or the representative of the County of Middlesex to the building owner within 10 days of their completion. The building owner shall reimburse the Borough within 30 days thereof.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848]
H. 
Permits and fees. Fees for the following shall be those charged by the County of Middlesex, Department of Public Safety and Health:
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848; 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1849]
(1) 
Trade shows, craft shows, exhibits, expositions, auctions, art sales, concerts, wrestling matches, festivals, dinners, dances, balls and similar events, including non-school-type uses in school buildings, cultural centers and convention centers, and any other uses requiring inspection by the Fire Official, County of Middlesex or Fire Inspector.
(2) 
Asphalt (tar) kettles per job site.
(3) 
The following permit application fees:
(a) 
Type I.
(b) 
Type II.
(c) 
Type III.
(d) 
Type IV.
I. 
Fire alarms and reporting.
(1) 
The Fire Official or his or her designee shall investigate, or cause to be investigated, the activation of any fire alarm, fire detector or fire protection system occurring within the Borough. The Fire Official or his or designee shall determine the cause for such activation and determine whether the alarm, detector or protection system has been properly restored to full service.
(2) 
Failure to report: It shall be a violation of this section for any person or persons, having knowledge of same, to fail to immediately report to the Highland Park Fire Department the activation of any fire protection system or device; the occurrence of any fire; any attempted arson; or the spill or leakage of any flammable or combustible liquid or gas or of any hazardous material.
J. 
Board of Appeals. Pursuant to Sections 15 and 17 of the Uniform Safety Act, P.L. 1983, c. 383[5] of the Laws of the State of New Jersey, any person aggrieved by any order of the County of Middlesex shall have the right to appeal to the Construction Board of Appeals of the County of Middlesex.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848]
[5]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 52:27D-192 et seq.
K. 
Fire lanes and fire zones.
(1) 
Designation of fire lanes and fire zones.
(a) 
Certain areas shall be designated as fire lanes to provide clear access to buildings for the fire-fighting equipment in the event of an emergency call, fire hydrants and water connection devices located on Borough and private roads shall be designated as fire zones as permitted by N.J.S.A. 39:4-8 et seq.
(2) 
Notice to affected property owners.
(a) 
The County of Middlesex shall send to the property owner by personal delivery or certified mail all notices requiring the installation of signs or the painting of fire-lane or fire-zone lines on said property owner's property.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848]
(b) 
Any property owner so noticed shall install the required signs and paint the required lines within 30 days of receipt of said notice.
(3) 
Intervention by the Borough for failure to comply. If a property owner fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection, the County of Middlesex may cause the required signs to be installed and the lines painted at the property owner's expense. Said costs shall be passed against the affected property and collected through the Borough of Highland Park Tax Collector's Office.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848]
(4) 
Parking, stopping or standing of vehicles prohibited. No person shall park ("parking" means the standing or waiting on a street, road or highway of a vehicle not actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers or merchandise, unless in obedience to traffic regulations or traffic signs or signals), stop or leave standing ("stopping" or "standing" means any cessation of movement of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic control sign or signal) any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, in any designated twenty-foot-wide fire lane or fire zone or obstruct any designated fire lane or fire zone. No personal shall park, stop or leave standing any vehicle within 15 feet of any fire hydrant or other Department of Fire Safety water connection device.
(5) 
Restrictions for loading zones. In loading zones designated herein, attended vehicles may stop solely for the purpose of loading or unloading and only for the period of time necessary to accomplish such loading or unloading.
(6) 
Installation of signs, painting of lines.
(a) 
Markings. The owner shall, within 30 days of being given notice to do so by the Fire Official, mark the lanes as follows:
[1] 
Signs, with minimum dimensions of 12 inches by 18 inches constructed of metal with raised red letters a minimum of two inches in size on a white background, shall be posted at a level of at least seven feet above grade indicating "NO PARKING AT ANY TIME." Immediately under these signs shall be another sign, with minimum dimensions of 12 inches by six inches saying "FIRE LANE" or "FIRE LANE NO ON STREET-PARKING." Spacing of signs shall be even with a minimum of one sign for every 50 feet of fire lane or part thereof, or as ordered by the Fire Official. All signs and markings must be unobstructed and visible for a distance of at least 100 feet when viewed from a position approximately five feet above the ground while in the fire lane.
[2] 
Diagonal yellow lines shall be pained on the pavement along the length of the fire lane or fire zone where possible. Fire lanes shall have a minimum width of 20 feet.
[3] 
Fire zones associated with fire hydrants and water connection devices shall be identified with yellow paint extending 15 feet in both directions on the curb and/or pavement where possible.
(7) 
Enforcement agencies for the parking in fire lanes or fire zones. The County of Middlesex and the Highland Park Police Department shall have concurrent jurisdiction in policing and issuing parking summonses.
[Amended 6-5-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1848]
(8) 
Penalties. Penalties for the various violations related to fire lanes and fire zones shall be in accordance with the penalties assessed by the County of Middlesex, Department of Public Safety and Health.
[Amended 8-13-2013 by Ord. No. 13-1849]
L. 
Construction activities. All combustible refuse, rubbish and debris shall be cleaned up and deposited in a noncombustible refuse container. All refuse container(s) shall be located a minimum of 10 feet from any building, structure and lot line or combustible material storage location.
M. 
Key box requirements.
(1) 
All buildings or structures protected by fire alarms shall be provided with a key box approved by the Fire Official. The key box shall contain keys to provide access to all areas of the building or structure and shall be installed in a location approved by the Fire Official; such key box shall only be utilized in response to a report of a fire or fire protection system activation or other emergency call.
(a) 
The key box shall be located in a lighted location not higher than 5 1/2 feet above grade and shall be provided with a monitor tamper switch.
(b) 
Key boxes shall be installed within 90 days of receiving a notice from the Fire Official.
(c) 
Key box keys shall be issued to the Fire Official. Each individual receiving keys shall be responsible for the security of same at all times.
(d) 
Buildings or structures occupied 24 hours a day, seven days per week, by personnel processing keys to all areas and residential occupancies, and financial institutions shall be exempt from the requirements of this subsection; provided, however, that residential complexes containing locked common areas and/or master key capabilities shall be provided with a key box.
(2) 
All buildings or structures that have an elevator equipped with an elevator recall must provide the elevator recall key in a key box installed in a location readily accessible to the fire department.
N. 
Penalties.
(1) 
Any person or persons who violates any provision of the subsection is subject to municipal summons of not less than $200 nor more than $2,000.
(2) 
Failure to file a registration application pursuant to Subsection 39-10G(2) shall subject the person(s) responsible for said payment to a penalty in the amount equal to double the registration fee, but not less than $200 or more than $2,000.
(3) 
Failure to pay the required registration fees shall subject the person(s) responsible for said payment to a penalty in the amount equal to the unpaid fee. Payment of the fee after imposition of the penalty shall not absolve the owner from responsibility for the penalty nor shall payment of the penalty be deemed to absolve the owner from the obligation to pay the fee.

§ 39-11 Reimbursement of fire service fees.

[Added 3-15-2011 by Ord. No. 11-1805]
A. 
Authorization to recover Fire Department costs and expenses. The Highland Park Borough Council authorizes the Fire Department to recover the cost of firefighting materials used and expended. This shall include the cost of the use of fire trucks, fire engines, rescue equipment and tankers; the cost of personnel hours and hazardous situation abatement materials involved in any fire, safety and rescue incident or operation and hazardous abatement incident, including vehicular accidents and fire wherein there is sufficient damage for the owner of the real property or vehicle to file an insurance claim for the loss or if services are provided at the request of a public utility.
B. 
Schedule of fees and costs. The Highland Park Borough Council shall review and adopt by resolution a schedule of fees and costs to be charged by the Fire Department shall be kept on file with the Chief of said Department as well as with the Borough Clerk. These fees and costs shall be charged and invoiced to any person, partnership, corporation, association, firm or other legal entity or their insurance carrier for whom or for whose property such services were rendered and/or materials provided.
C. 
Collection of costs. Said costs and fees as outlined above and as set forth on the schedule of fees and costs referenced above shall be recovered directly by the Fire Department by direct billing of the Fire Department with a copy to the Borough's Chief Financial Officer.
D. 
Interest and administration fees. In addition to the aforementioned fees and costs, the Fire Department is hereby authorized to collect reasonable interest and administration fees for the collection of the fees and costs due and owing from the insurance companies or public utilities responsible for the fire services rendered.