[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bellefonte as Ch. 1620 of the 1979 Codified Ordinances; amended in its entirety 3-18-2013. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
A Bureau of Fire Prevention in the Fire Department of the Borough is hereby established, which Bureau shall be operated under the supervision of the Department Chief, who shall designate an officer or member of the Department as Chief Inspector of the Bureau, who shall hold his office at the pleasure of Council. The Fire Chief shall also designate two Assistant Inspectors, who shall be the Chief of the Logan Fire Company and the Chief of the Undine Fire Company. The Fire Chief may also designate for temporary service such other Assistant Inspectors as the business of the Bureau may require.
The officers of the Bureau of Fire Prevention may enforce the provisions of the Bellefonte Borough Safety and Property Maintenance Code, investigation of the cause, origin and circumstances of fires, and enforce all laws and ordinances of the Borough covering the prevention of fires.
They 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 and imposed, from time to time, by law. The Fire Chief may delegate any of his powers or duties under this chapter to the Chief Inspector or Assistant Inspectors.
It shall be the duty of the Department Chief to investigate and to recommend to Council such additional ordinances, or amendments to existing ordinances, as he may deem necessary for safeguarding life and property against fire.
The Department Chief shall prepare instructions for the Chief Inspector and his Assistant Inspectors and forms for their use in the reports required by this chapter.
The Bureau of Fire Prevention may investigate the cause, origin and circumstances of any fire occurring in the Borough by which property has been destroyed or damaged and, so far as possible, shall determine whether the fire is the result of carelessness or design. Such investigation should begin immediately upon the occurrence of such a fire, and, if it appears to the officer making such investigation that such fire is of suspicious origin, the Department Chief shall be notified at the earliest reasonable time of such fact. The ranking Fire Chief on scene shall then take immediate charge of the physical evidence, shall notify the proper authorities designated by law to pursue the investigation of such matters and shall further cooperate with the authorities in the collection of evidence and the prosecution of the case. Every fire shall be reported in writing to the Bureau within one week after the occurrence of the same by the officer in charge of each company. Such report shall be in such form as is prescribed by the Department Chief and shall contain a statement of all facts relating to the cause, origin and circumstances of such fire, the extent of the damage thereof, and such other information as may be required.
The Department Chief, the Chief Inspector or any Assistant Inspector may, in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Bellefonte Borough Safety and Property Maintenance Code, enter a building or premises within his jurisdiction for the purpose of making any inspection or investigation which, under the provisions of this chapter, he may deem necessary to be made.
The Department Chief shall keep, in the office of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, a record of all fires and of all the facts concerning the same, including statistics as to the extent of such fires, and the damage caused thereby. Such record shall be made monthly from the reports made by the Inspectors under the provisions of this chapter.
The annual report of the Bureau of Fire Prevention shall be made at the first meeting of Council in February of each year. The report shall contain all proceedings under this chapter, with such statistics as the Department Chief may wish to include therein. The Department Chief shall also recommend any amendments to this chapter which, in his judgment, are desirable.