City of Lowell, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lowell 4-26-1988 as Ch. 5, Art. III and Ch. 8, Art. III of the 1988 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire Department — See Ch. 20, Art. V.
Building construction — See Ch. 115.
Dangerous buildings — See Ch. 119.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 140.
Housing standards — See Ch. 176.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 227.
A. 
The fire limits shall be bounded and described as follows: Beginning at Merrimack River at the northeast end of a continuation of the middle line of Salem Street; thence southeast along the middle line of Salem Street to the middle line of Market Street; thence southeast along the middle line of Market Street to the middle line of Suffolk Street; thence south and southwest along the middle line of Suffolk Street; thence to the middle line of Fletcher Street; thence southeast along the middle line of Fletcher Street to the middle line of Dutton Street; thence southwest and northwest along the middle line of Dutton Street; thence to the middle line of Willie Street; thence southeast along the middle line of Willie Street to the middle line of Carleton Street; thence southeast along the middle line of Carleton Street to the middle line of Marshall Street; thence southwest along the middle line of Marshall Street to the middle line of Gates Street; thence southeast along the middle line of Gates Street to the middle line of Westford Street; thence northeasterly and easterly to the middle line of Westford Street to the middle line of Chelmsford Street; thence northeasterly along the middle line of Chelmsford Street to the middle line of Thorndike Street; thence southeast along the middle line of Thorndike Street to the middle line of Summer Street; thence northeast and southeast along the middle line of Summer Street to the middle line of Gorham Street; thence northeast and east along the middle line of Charles Street to the Concord River; thence northeast along the Concord River to the middle line of Stone Bridge and Andover Street to the middle line of Fayette Street; thence north and northeast along the middle line of Fayette Street to the Merrimack River; thence northwest along the Merrimack River to the point at the beginning.
B. 
The fire limit line is to extend 100 feet in every direction beyond the above-mentioned district. No wooden building shall be constructed within such limits, except as hereinafter provided, established by this section.
[Amended 12-23-2008]
There is hereby adopted by the City, for the purpose of prescribing regulations governing conditions hazardous to life and property from fire or explosion, that certain code known as the "Fire Prevention Code" recommended by the American Insurance Association, being particularly the 1982 edition and the whole thereof, as amended, save and except such portions as are deleted, modified or amended by this chapter, of which code not fewer than three copies are filed in the office of the Clerk of the City, and the same is hereby adopted and incorporated as fully as if set out at length herein.
[Amended 8-23-1988; 12-23-2008]
The following additions, deletions and amendments are made in the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter:
A. 
Section 1.2c, Application of Code, is added to read as follows: "MGL c. 148, as amended, shall take precedence over this Fire Prevention Code whenever any conflict arises which has the effect of reducing the requirements established under state law."
B. 
Section 1.2d, Massachusetts Electrical Code, is added to read as follows: "All electrical work required by this Fire Prevention Code shall be installed in accordance with the applicable standards specified in the Massachusetts Electrical Code, as amended. All references to NFPA No. 70, National Electrical Code, 1962 edition, in this Fire Prevention Code shall be deleted."
C. 
Section 1.9g, Permits, is added to read as follows: "Before a permit is issued by the Inspectional Services Department under the provisions of the Building Code, as accepted, for the construction of new buildings, alterations and additions to existing buildings, all plans, blueprints and specifications of these buildings shall be submitted to the Bureau of Fire Prevention to ensure that all necessary fire prevention and fire protection measures as the Chief of the Fire Department shall require in all such buildings are provided for, except in a one- or a two-story dwelling."
D. 
Sections 5.1 to 5.9, Storage, Use, Handling and Transportation, are deleted entirely.
E. 
Section 5.10, Safety Film Only, is amended by the following substitution and addition to read as follows: "The use, storage, handling and transportation of cellulose nitrate motion-picture film is prohibited anywhere within the City limits. Only motion-picture film marked 'Safety Film' shall be used, stored, handled or transported within the City limits."
F. 
Section 12.4a is amended by adding a new subsection as follows:
The following conditions shall be met before a blasting permit shall be issued by the Bureau of Fire Prevention:
1.
A copy of a bond as required under the provisions of MGL c. 148, §§ 20 and 20A must be produced by the contractor when applying for a blasting permit at the Bureau of Fire Prevention, said bond to be on file in the State Treasurer's office in the sum of $20,000 and dated the same year as the blasting permit is applied for.
2.
Competent operator must produce his certificate of competency and his number noted on the blasting permit.
3.
Blasting permits will be issued for only one location at a time, and a new permit must be applied for when moving to a new location for blasting operations.
4.
Each blasting permit shall be issued for a maximum period of only one week for each location, at the end of which time the blasting permit must be renewed.
5.
Before a blasting permit will be issued to any competent operator, the site where such blasting will take place must be surveyed by a member of the Bureau of Fire Prevention or a chief officer of the Fire Department to make sure that all conditions in Section 12.8 are being complied with.
6.
In certain congested districts the City Engineer will be consulted as to underground services to buildings, such as gas mains, water mains, sewers, electric cable, etc.
7.
Each blasting permit is subject to revocation by the Chief of the Fire Department or head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention whenever he deems it necessary for the safety of persons and property.
8.
No blasting permits shall be issued for areas where flammable and combustible fluids are stored underground.
G. 
Section 16.23, Installation of Underground Tanks, is amended by adding a new subsection as follows:
Section 16.23h
1.
Every tank shall be supported by a foundation capable of supporting the tank.
2.
The minimum distance from any part of a tank storing Class 1 liquids to any property line, which shall include streets, sidewalks or public ways, shall be not less than 10 feet.
3.
Each tank and the fittings connected thereto should be liquidtight and vaportight.
4.
All tanks and piping shall be tested for tightness as required in the provisions of Section 16.27c. This test shall be witnessed by a member of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, who shall make a record of the capacity, gauge thickness, Underwriters' Laboratories serial number and any other pertinent information relating to such tank.
5.
The tank exterior shall be covered with a rust-resistant material to prevent corrosion.
6.
All pipes connected to such tank shall be as required in the provisions of Section 16.23f and g.
7.
All pipe joints and connections shall be of the swing type or other approved type so that in case of undermining or settling of the tank the piping will not be damaged or broken.
8.
Each tank shall have a filler pipe, a draught pipe and vent pipe. Gauge pipes terminating inside a building shall be as required in Section 16.23g(2).
9.
Filler pipes shall be not less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and should extend to within three inches from the bottom of the tank. The receiving end of the filler pipe shall be located outside the building and provided with a screw plug or cap and less than five feet away from any building opening. Such connection shall be liquidtight when not in use. When run to a sidewalk, alley or public way, the pipe shall terminate in a box with a metal cover set flush with surface of such sidewalk, alley or public way. This cover will be kept wrenchtight when not in use.
10.
Vent pipes shall be as required in Section 16.23c, 16.23d and 16.23e.
11.
When more than one tank is used, spacing between tanks shall be not less than five feet.
12.
Two copies of a plot plan showing tank locations, capacities, spacings, property lines, buildings, etc., shall be filed with the Bureau of Fire Prevention along with the application for a license or permit for said storage.
13.
A license shall be required for the storage of flammable fluids as defined in MGL c. 148.
14.
The capacity of such tanks shall not exceed that for which the license or permit was issued.
15.
All underground tanks containing a flammable fluid or vapor shall be removed from the ground when their use has terminated. A permit for the removal and transportation of such tanks must be obtained at the Bureau of Fire Prevention. Tanks must be properly capped and inspected by a member of the Bureau of Fire Prevention before being transported.
16.
Maximum storage limits for each location shall be at the discretion of the Chief of the Fire Department.
H. 
Section 21.8, Containers Inside Buildings, is amended by adding a new subsection to read as follows: "Section 21.8b. Portable units for cooking or heating purposes using liquefied petroleum gas as a fuel shall be prohibited in miscellaneous halls, places of assembly, public buildings, public halls, special halls, theaters, hotels, motels or restaurants. The use of liquefied petroleum gas systems in any form is prohibited in the Lowell Memorial Auditorium and the Cawley Stadium."
I. 
Section 28.15, Grease Duct Systems and Ventilation of Restaurant Cooking Equipment, is added to read as follows:
Section 28.15a. Inspection of Systems. Ventilating systems, including ducts, hoods, fans, grease filters and other parts of such systems, shall be inspected periodically and cleaned as often as may be necessary to remove deposits of residue and grease and in any case at least twice a year in restaurants, kitchens, bakeries and other similar occupancies where greasy and oily substances accumulate in ventilating equipment.
Section 28.15b. Fire Protection. Extensive exhaust duct systems as described in Section 28.15a shall be provided with an automatic Class B fire-extinguishing system; small installations using deep fryer, fry kettle or other kitchen equipment where grease may accumulate shall be provided with a fire extinguisher suitable for use on Class B fires or as directed by the head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
J. 
Section 28.16, Laundromats, Coin-Operated, is added to read as follows: "All new and existing laundromats of the coin-operated type shall be required to maintain good housekeeping at all times, and all equipment such as washers, dryers and exhaust and duct systems shall be thoroughly cleaned of lint and other combustible materials at least once a week. Open areas above washers and dryers must be protected against the possibility of combustible materials being discarded in these areas."
K. 
Section 29.1, Permits Required, is amended by adding a new subsection to read as follows: "Section 29.1a. Before a permit may be issued under the provisions of Section 29.1, a plot plan must be submitted to the Bureau of Fire Prevention showing the location where the tent is to be erected, location of nearest buildings, highways and access roads and location of nearest municipal fire hydrant, also the area in square feet the tent or tents will cover and the seating capacity of such tent or tents."
L. 
Section 29.2 is amended by striking out the word "persons" in the first line and inserting in its place the word "firefighter" and by adding a new paragraph to read as follows: "The Chief of the Fire Department shall designate the number of portable fire extinguishers and hose lines for complete fire protection for such tent or tents to be manned by one or more fire fighters who will be designated by the Chief of the Fire Department for the protection of persons and property."
M. 
Section 29.3a is amended by adding a new subsection to read as follows: "Each tent or tents shall have sufficient number of exits designated by the posting of the proper exit signs, and a secondary means of illumination must be provided if tents are to be used after dark, in case of a power failure."
N. 
Appendix B is amended to read as follows:
1.
Methods.
a.
Underground tanks taken out of service shall be safeguarded or disposed of by the following means:
(1)
Placed in a temporary out-of-service condition. Tanks shall be rendered temporarily out of service only when it is planned that they will be returned to active service at the location or pending removal within 90 days.
(2)
(Delete)
(3)
Tanks removed.
2.
Records.
a.
In cases where tanks are rendered temporarily out of service, records shall be kept of the date, tank size, location and method used for placing the tanks in a safe condition. With any of the methods described in Section 1, no cutting torch or other flame- or spark-producing equipment shall be used until the tank has been completely purged or otherwise rendered safe. In each case the steps given shall be carried out successively.
4.
Tanks Abandoned in Place (delete entire section)
Whenever the words "Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention" are used in the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter they shall be held to mean the head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention. The Chief of the Fire Department shall appoint the head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
The administration and enforcement of this chapter shall be the duty of the Bureau of Fire Prevention acting under the direct supervision of and with delegation of authority from the Chief of the Fire Department, who is hereby authorized to take such action as may be reasonably necessary to enforce the provisions and purposes of the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter.
The Bureau of Fire Prevention shall, after proper identification, have the right to enter any premises for the purpose of inspecting any building or structures at a reasonable hour and at such times as may be reasonably necessary to protect property and the public safety.
The provisions of the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter shall govern the conditions hazardous to life and property from fire or explosion as defined in such code. They shall apply to existing conditions as herein provided.
The Chief of the Fire Department is hereby authorized to draw up such rules and regulations as may be deemed necessary to protect the public, which rules and regulations shall become effective upon adoption by the City Council.
The Bureau of Fire Prevention shall keep a complete record of all permits issued, examinations made or other official work performed as required by the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter, and these records shall be open to inspection at all reasonable times and shall be kept in such a manner to give prompt information to any interested parties.
The limits referred to in Section 12.5b of the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter, in which storage of explosives and blasting agents is prohibited, are as established by the Chief of the Fire Department. All applications for permits or licenses for the storage of explosives and blasting agents shall be approved by the Chief of the Fire Department and the head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
A. 
The limits referred to in Section 16.22a of the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter, in which new bulk plants for flammable or combustible liquids are prohibited, are as established by the Chief of the Fire Department. All applications for permits or licenses for the storage of flammable or combustible liquids in outside aboveground tanks shall be approved by the Chief of the Fire Department and the head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
B. 
The limits referred to in Section 16.51 of the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter, in which new bulk plants for flammable or combustible liquids are prohibited, are as established by the Chief of the Fire Department. All applications for permits or licenses for bulk plants for the storage of flammable or combustible liquids shall be approved by the Chief of the Fire Department and the head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
The limits referred to in Section 21.6a of the Fire Prevention Code adopted in this chapter, in which bulk storage of liquefied petroleum gas is restricted, are as established by the Chief of the Fire Department. All applications for permits or licenses for bulk storage of liquefied petroleum gas shall be approved by the Chief of the Fire Department and the head of the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
The dispensing of gasoline by means of self-service dispensing systems shall be authorized with the City, provided that, as a condition precedent thereto, the City Council has issued a license therefor upon the following conditions:
A. 
A hearing on the application for such license is held similar to the hearing procedure outlined in MGL c. 148, § 13.
B. 
The application for such license shall have attached thereto a site plan showing full details of the self-service station and area relating to the sale of other products, as well as traffic flow. Applications require prior approval of the Fire Chief, Traffic Engineer and Building Inspector and site plan approval by the Planning Board.
[Amended 5-25-1993]
C. 
A permit for such has been issued, and is still in force, from the Bureau of Fire Prevention upon the conditions set forth in this section.
D. 
Self-service stations shall meet the requirements of Form FPR-4, Section 43, Rules and Regulations of the Board of Fire Prevention Regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and all other applicable regulations of FPR-4, as amended.
E. 
Such stations are in compliance with MGL c. 148 and the Code of Massachusetts Regulations applicable thereto.
[Amended 5-25-1993]
F. 
Such stations are in compliance with this Code.
G. 
Such stations are fully, not partially, operated as self-service stations.
H. 
Each pump shall have an approved impact valve at its base designed to close automatically in case of fire or impact.
I. 
The dispensing nozzle shall be an approved automatic-closing type without a hold-open latch.
J. 
Gasoline shall be dispensed only into tanks of vehicles or into containers approved by the Fire Marshal.
[Amended 5-25-1993]
K. 
In addition to required "No Smoking" signs, signs with the words "Turn Off Engine" in white block letters not less than two inches high on a red background shall be conspicuously posted visible to all approaching vehicles.
L. 
Instructions for operation of dispenser are posted conspicuously at each pump island.
M. 
Repairing or painting or storing of vehicles is prohibited.
N. 
An automatic extinguishing system approved by the head of the Fire Department suitable for Class B fires is provided at each island with remote manual triggering mechanism at or near the operator's console.
O. 
The operator of the controlling mechanism is a competent, mature person capable of and properly trained to perform the following functions required under emergency conditions:
(1) 
Shut down dispensing units and power supply.
(2) 
Actuate extinguishing equipment.
(3) 
Notify Fire Department.
(4) 
Handle and use portable fire extinguishers.
P. 
Coin-operated dispensing systems are prohibited; approved card-dispensing systems are allowed, provided that pump activation is controlled by the station operator.
[Amended 5-25-1993]
Q. 
Operations shall be so conducted as not to be a nuisance to the neighborhood.
R. 
The traffic flow through the pumping area is in just one approved direction.
S. 
Such stations may sell other products, provided that such stations have at least two persons working during all hours of operation, and one of such persons shall exclusively operate the gasoline controlling mechanism.
[Amended 5-25-1993]
T. 
Such stations shall have available assistance for elderly and handicapped persons unable to operate the self-service automatic dispensing systems.
[Added 7-9-1996]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
HAZARDOUS WASTE
A waste, or combination of wastes, which because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may cause or significantly contribute to an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health, safety, or welfare or to the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, used or disposed of, or otherwise managed; however, not to include solid or dissolved materials in irrigation return flows or industrial discharges which are point sources subject to permits under Section 402 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1967, as amended, or source, special nuclear, or by-product material as defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
INCIDENT
A single transportation of hazardous waste from one location to another location.
INDIVIDUAL
Any agency or political subdivision of the federal government or commonwealth; any state, public or private corporation or authority, individual, trust, firm, joint-stock company, partnership, association, or other entity and any officer, employee or agent of said person; and any group of said persons.
WASTE
Any discarded material not exempted pursuant to 310 CMR 30.104. A waste may be a solid, liquid, semisolid, or contained gaseous material, or any refuse or sludge, and may result from industrial, commercial, mining, or agricultural operations, or from municipal or other governmental activities, or from the activities of other persons.
(1) 
Any material that is:
(a) 
Abandoned by being disposed of, burned, or incinerated;
(b) 
Accumulated, stored, or treated in lieu of being disposed of, burned, or incinerated;
(c) 
Inherently waste-like material; or
(d) 
Recycled in a manner that is not in compliance with 310 CMR 30.000.
(2) 
(a) 
Material that is hazardous waste numbered F020, F021 (except when used as an ingredient to make a product at the site of generation), F022, F023, F026 or F028;
(b) 
Materials designated as such by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to 40 CFR 261.2(d); or
(c) 
Materials designated as such by the Department of Environmental Protection using the following criteria:[1]
[1] 
The materials are ordinarily disposed of, burned, or incinerated;
[2] 
The materials contain one or more constituents listed in 310 CMR 30.160 that are not ordinarily in raw materials or commercial products or are not necessary to the recycling of the material; or
[3] 
The material may pose a significant potential hazard to the public health, safety or welfare, or the environment, if it is not managed pursuant to 310 CMR 30.300 through 30.900.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
Prior to transporting hazardous waste which either originates or terminates in the City of Lowell, an individual shall notify the City of Lowell Fire Department, Fire Prevention Bureau, of his intention to engage in such transportation activity at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of the transportation activity or at the time the individual contracts to provide such transportation services, whichever occurs later in time.
C. 
Notification shall be on a written form provided by the City of Lowell Fire Department, Fire Prevention Bureau, and shall include the following:
(1) 
The name and EPA identification number of the transporter of the hazardous waste;
(2) 
The names and EPA identification numbers of the legal owner(s) and generator(s) of the hazardous waste;
(3) 
A detailed description of the nature and properties of the hazardous waste;
(4) 
The quantity of the hazardous waste that is to be transported;
(5) 
A detailed description of the means by which the hazardous waste is to be transported;
(6) 
A detailed description of the route along which the hazardous waste will be transported within or through the City of Lowell;
(7) 
The address and legal owner(s) of the site to which the hazardous waste is to be transported; and
(8) 
A detailed description of the manner in which the hazardous waste is to be deposited, stored and/or disposed of on the site to which it is being transported.
D. 
Upon receipt from an individual of the above-detailed notification, the City of Lowell Fire Department, Fire Prevention Bureau, shall review said notification and, if it determines the individual is in full compliance with all applicable Massachusetts and federal statutes and regulations, issue to the individual a permit to transport hazardous waste within or through the City of Lowell.
E. 
Any individual who transports hazardous waste within or through any portion of the City of Lowell without having first applied for and obtained a permit from the City of Lowell Fire Department, Fire Prevention Bureau, shall be subject to a fine of $300 per day/per incident.
F. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply to the individuals who receive a request from the City of Lowell Fire Department to transport hazardous waste within or through any portion of the City of Lowell.
G. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply to individuals whose transportation of hazardous waste does not originate or terminate within the City of Lowell.
[Added 9-13-2005]
Whoever shall cause damage or destruction to a fire hydrant in the City of Lowell shall be responsible for all damages and costs related to the repair and/or replacement thereof, including but not limited to:
A. 
The cost of replacement or repair of the hydrant;
B. 
The cost of labor and materials related thereto;
C. 
The cost of any required police detail during construction; and
D. 
Any other related costs.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 222, Peace and Good Order, § 222-5, Injuring or tampering with fire hydrants.
[Added 11-24-2009]
A. 
No person or entity shall install a master box fire alarm directly connected to the City of Lowell's Emergency Dispatch Center in this City unless such master box fire alarm is duly licensed therefor by the Fire Department.
B. 
Any person or entity who has master box fire alarm which is already connected to the Lowell Dispatch Center shall be required to obtain a license for such master box fire alarm by January 1, 2011.
C. 
All licenses granted under this chapter shall designate the address and specific location of the master box fire alarm which is the subject of the license, and each and every master box fire alarm shall require a separate license and fee.
D. 
All licenses granted under this chapter shall be good for one year and shall be renewed prior to their expiration.
E. 
The fee for a new license or a license renewal shall be the same amount, and such fee under this chapter shall be as described in Chapter 150, Fees.
F. 
A license granted under this chapter may be revoked at any time.
[Added 6-24-2014]
A. 
Definition. For the purposes of this section, "fireworks" shall include compositions, substances or other articles and shall also include blank cartridges or toy cannons in which explosives are used, firecrackers, cherry bombs, silver salutes, M-80s, torpedoes, sky-rockets, roman candles, rockets, wheels, colored fires, fountains, mines, serpents or other fireworks of like construction or items otherwise defined by MGL c. 148, § 39.
B. 
No person shall sell, possess or use fireworks within the City, except that persons having a permit issued under the authority of MGL c. 148, § 10A, may purchase fireworks and display them in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 148 of the General Laws and in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Safety.
C. 
Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of $500 for each violation.