[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Somers 10-14-1975 by L.L. No. 1-1975; amended in its entirety 2-14-1985 by L.L. No. 1-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A Bureau of Fire Prevention in and for the Town of Somers, Westchester County, New York, is hereby established.
The Bureau of Fire Prevention shall consist of three members as follows:
The Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, who shall be the Building Inspector of the Town of Somers.
Two Deputy Chiefs, who shall be appointed by the Town Board upon recommendation of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Somers Fire District. All Deputy Chiefs appointed by the Town Board shall be active volunteer firemen of the Somers Fire District, with at least five years of active service. In the event a request for recommendation is not answered within 60 days by the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Somers Fire District, then the Town Board shall, without recommendation, appoint a qualified person from the Fire District.
In the absence of the Chief, a Deputy Chief designated by him shall be Acting Chief.
The Town Board shall appoint, upon the recommendation of the other members of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, a Chief Inspector and such other inspectors as the Town Board shall deem necessary for the proper operation of the Bureau.
Deputy Chiefs shall hold office at the pleasure of the Town Board and may be removed at the request of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Somers Fire District, but only after a hearing upon five days' written personal notice. Inspectors shall hold office at the pleasure of the appointing officers.
Meetings of the Bureau of Fire Prevention shall be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. in the Town Hall. In the event of a holiday or other conflict, the Board may set an alternate time and date. Special meetings may be called at the request of the Chief or by any two members of the Bureau. Two members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
[Amended 12-13-2012 by L.L. No. 8-2012]
The Chief Inspector shall attend the meetings of the Bureau of Fire Prevention and may act as complainant in all violations presented by the Bureau and shall receive from the Town of Somers such salary as the Town Board shall, from time to time, in accordance with the Town Law, deem commensurate with the service rendered.
The Chief of the Bureau shall preside at all meetings. The Chief and the Deputy Chiefs shall sign and be responsible for all violations and orders and the prosecution thereof and shall act as witness where appropriate in any proceedings.
The Bureau of Fire Prevention shall promulgate a fire prevention code for the Town of Somers, which shall be administered and enforced by the Chief and the Deputy Chiefs of the Fire Bureau and the Fire Inspector, as hereinafter provided.
The Chief and Deputy Chiefs of the Bureau and the Fire Inspector may issue a warning ticket to any person, firm or corporation when there is reasonable cause to believe that such person, firm or corporation has permitted, acquiesced or allowed a violation to exist on his or its property or has committed a violation of the Fire Prevention Code. Such warning notice shall advise the person, firm or corporation of the type of existing violation or violations, the date said inspection was made and the amount of time such person, firm or corporation has to correct said violation before an appearance ticket will be issued for said violation.
The Chief and Deputy Chiefs of the Fire Bureau and Fire Inspectors may issue an appearance ticket to any person, firm or corporation when they have reasonable cause to believe that such person, firm or corporation has committed a violation of the Fire Prevention Code. Such appearance ticket shall direct the designated person, firm or corporation to appear at the Justice Court, Town of Somers, at a designated future time, not later than 30 days from the date of issuance of the appearance ticket in connection with the violation charge. The appearance ticket shall designate the violation alleged to have been committed and shall further provide that, upon the failure of the designated persons, firm or corporation to appear, a warrant will be issued for his arrest. Nothing in this provision shall require the Chief and Deputy Chiefs of the Fire Bureau and the Fire Inspectors, as a prerequisite, to issue a warning notice before issuing an appearance ticket. The Criminal Procedures Law of the State of New York shall govern all proceedings under this subsection.
Fire official. The Fire Official referred to in the Fire Prevention Code shall be designated as the Fire Prevention Bureau.
The general duties of the Bureau of Fire Prevention are as follows:
The prevention of fires.
The regulation of the storage and use of explosives, combustibles and flammables.
The regulation of the installation and maintenance of automatic and other private fire alarm systems and fire-extinguishing equipment.
The regulation of the means and adequacies of exits in case of fire from factories, schools, hotels, lodging houses, asylums, hospitals, nursing homes, churches, halls, theaters and all other places in which numbers of persons are employed, live or congregate, from time to time, for any purpose.
The emergency operation described in the New York State Building and Fire Prevention Code, Section 607 and as subsequently amended or replaced by the State of New York, shall also be referred to as the “fire service operation.” A Yale number 2642 or Otis 1520 keyed look shall be the only fire service method for overriding normal operating controls and is deemed the only suitable key for use by the Fire Department or other authorized personnel.
[Added 5-9-2013 by L.L. No. 3-2013]
Editor's Note: This local law also redesignated former Subsection A(5) as Subsection A(6).
The investigation of the cause, origin and circumstances of fires.
It shall also have the power to promulgate a fire prevention code and to propose regulations covering the aforesaid items, which regulations shall be presented to the Town Board of the Town of Somers for approval, and it shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as are set forth in other sections of this chapter and as may be conferred from time to time by local law.
The Chief or Deputy Chiefs of the Bureau of Fire Prevention or any Inspector may, at all reasonable hours or at any time he or they may have reason to believe that a fire hazard may exist, enter any building or premises within the Town of Somers, except for the entry of a private one- or two-family dwelling, for the purpose of making any inspection or investigation which under the provisions of this chapter he or they may deem necessary.
The Chief or Deputy Chiefs of the Bureau or any Inspector specifically designated thereto shall inspect, as may be necessary, any building or premises, except the entry of a one- or two-family private dwelling, any hazardous manufacturing process, any storage or installation of gases, chemicals, oils, explosives, combustibles or flammable material, any and all interior fire alarm or automatic sprinkler systems and any such other hazards or appliances as may be deemed necessary.
In the event it is found that a dangerous condition or any condition liable to cause fire exists or that there exists in any building or upon any premises combustible or explosive material or a dangerous accumulation of rubbish or any accumulation of wastepaper, boxes, shavings or any highly combustible or flammable materials or any other condition which is so situated as is likely to cause fire or explosion or is so situated as to endanger property, passageways, doors or windows or is liable to interfere with the operations of a fire department or the egress of occupants in case of fire, the Fire Bureau should be notified forthwith.
The Chief or the Deputy Chiefs of the Bureau or Chief Inspector shall thereafter and forthwith inspect or cause an inspection to be made by any Inspector so designated; and upon such inspection, the Inspector shall make such orders as may be necessary for the enforcement of the laws covering the same for the safeguarding of life and property, requiring that the hazardous or dangerous condition found shall be forthwith removed or remedied.
The service of such orders as mentioned in § 26-4 shall be made upon the occupant of the premises to whom it is directed either by delivering the same to and leaving it with any person in charge of the premises or, in case no such person is found upon the premises, by affixing a copy thereof in a conspicuous place on the door to the entrance to said premises. Whenever it may be necessary to serve such an order upon the owner of the premises, such order may be served either by delivering to or leaving with the said person a copy of said order or, if such owner is absent from the jurisdiction of the officer making the order, by mailing such copy to the owner's last known post office address.
Any such order shall be complied with by the owner or occupant of such premises or building within the time fixed in said order. Any such order made by the Chief or Deputy Chiefs of the Bureau of Fire Prevention or any Inspector of the Bureau may be appealed from by the owner or occupant, within 48 hours to the Bureau of Fire Prevention of the Town of Somers by filing his appeal, with the reasons therefor, with the Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention. The Chief shall forthwith call a meeting of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, and, within five days after the filing of such appeal, the Bureau of Fire Prevention shall review such order and file its decision thereon; and, unless such order is revoked or modified, it shall remain in full force and be complied with within the time fixed in the order, which time shall be construed to run from the date of the filing of the decision of the Bureau of Fire Prevention; provided, however, that any such owner or occupant may, within five days after the service of any such order or within five days after the filing of the decision of the Bureau of Fire Prevention of an appeal from such order, file his petition with a court of competent jurisdiction praying for a review of such order.
Such parties so appealing to the court shall file with said order, within two days, a bond in an amount to be fixed and approved by the court, conditioned to pay all costs of such appeal in case such appellant fails to sustain his appeal or the same is dismissed for any cause.
The Bureau of Fire Prevention may investigate the cause, origin and circumstances of any fire occurring in its jurisdiction and so far as possible determine whether the fire was the result of carelessness or design. If it appears to the officer making such an investigation that such fire is of suspicious origin, the Fire Bureau shall be immediately notified of the facts. The Fire Bureau shall then notify the proper authorities designated by law to pursue the investigation of such matters. He shall also take charge immediately of the physical evidence and shall cooperate with the authorities in the collection of the evidence and the prosecution of the case. Every fire shall be reported in writing to the Bureau of Fire Prevention within two days after the occurrence of the same. Such report shall be in such form as shall be prescribed by the Chief of the Bureau and shall contain a statement of all facts related to the cause, origin and circumstances of such fire, the extent of the damage thereof, the insurance upon said property and such other information as may be required.
The Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention shall have the authority after a fire has occurred to a structure, building or other object to have the aforesaid structure, building or object secured or demolished.
All costs and expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the securing or demolition of any structure, building or other object shall be assessed and levied against the owner of the land on which said structure stands in the next tax levy on property in the Town of Somers.
The Town Attorney, upon request of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, shall assist the Fire Bureau in the investigation of any fire.
The annual report of the Bureau of Fire Prevention shall be made on or before the 31st day of January in each year and shall be transmitted to the Town Board. It shall contain all proceedings taken by the Bureau of Fire Prevention with such statistics as the Bureau may wish to include therein. The Bureau of Fire Prevention shall also recommend any amendments to the codes which, in its judgment, shall be desirable.
Any person or persons, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter or neglecting to comply with any order issued pursuant to any section therein shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 for each offense and imprisonment not to exceed 15 days. Each day that said violation is permitted to exist beyond the period fixed in the order so issued shall be a separate offense.