Chapter 2.04


2.04.010    Establishment and appointment.

2.04.020    Responsibilities.

2.04.030    Distribution of ordinance.

2.04.010 Establishment and appointment.

A. There is hereby established a new function within the Whatcom County sheriff’s department to be known as arson and fire investigator.

The arson and fire investigator shall be appointed in accordance with provisions of the Whatcom County Home Rule Charter and applicable personnel ordinances and civil service rules and regulations under the supervision of the county sheriff and shall administer the county’s arson and fire investigation functions. Said functions shall include, but not be limited to: fire and arson investigation; statistical and informational reports; examination of witnesses; criminal prosecution in conjunction with the prosecuting attorney’s office; maintenance of all records on fires and disposition of same; prepare and submit annual reports to the county sheriff, county council, State Fire Marshal county fire districts, State Insurance Commissioner and insurance companies; and perform other activities that are permitted and required under RCW Chapters 48.48 and 48.50, and other related sections of state law and local ordinances pertaining thereto as approved or may be approved by the council in accordance with RCW 48.50.090, and those sections pertinent to the investigation of the cause, origin and circumstances of fire as enumerated in the Uniform Fire Code.

B. The Whatcom County fire marshal shall be appointed in compliance with Sections 2.32.020 and 2.32.030 of this code. The duties of the fire marshal will include, but be not limited to coordinating the enforcement of the Uniform Fire Code with other related building codes, and checking commercial and industrial plans and plats for compliance with those same codes. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. A; Ord. 93-003 Attachment F; Ord. 85-3 § 1 (part); Ord. 82-19 (part)).

2.04.020 Responsibilities.

A. The arson and fire investigator shall have such powers as are conferred on him by the county sheriff, state and local laws, for the purpose of enforcement of the laws enumerated in this chapter and codes, ordinances and laws adopted by reference in this chapter in the performance of the functions enumerated herein, and other laws and codes adopted by reference for the purpose of investigation within the county concerning the cause, prevention and reduction of damage from fire and explosion, and assisting and cooperating with the appropriate officials and agencies as enumerated in this chapter in the matter of fire and arson investigations; provided, it shall be the duty of the director of public works/building official/fire marshal or his designee to investigate bonfires, outdoor rubbish fires, incinerators and open burning, and for the issuance or nonissuance of burning permits and coordination of burning bans with the state department of natural resources and the Northwest Air Pollution Control Authority; provided further, if it is the opinion, upon investigation by the director of public works/building official/fire marshal, that the cause of a fire could or may be arson, he shall immediately notify the arson investigator and deliver all files or reports to the arson investigator’s office within 24 hours.

B. He shall notify the chief of any fire department or district within the county of inspections, investigations, reports or other matters of record that may affect said fire department or district. Notification shall be by telephone or mail within 72 hours. The arson and fire investigator shall maintain files in his office of all reports of fires, explosions, inspections and investigations made by him pursuant to this ordinance and submit, on or by January 31st, an annual report. This report shall contain a statement of the arson and fire investigator’s official acts pursuant to this ordinance unless otherwise directed by the prosecuting attorney or county sheriff.

C. For the purpose of coordinating enforcement of the Uniform Fire Code with other related codes and state laws as enumerated herein, the deputy fire marshal, in coordination with the bureau of buildings and code administration under the direction of the director of public works/building official, shall have the authority and exercise the powers in the performance of his duties as set forth in the Uniform Fire Code, 1982 Edition. (Ord. 87-73 § 1; Ord. 85-3 § 1 (part); Ord. 82-19 (part)).

2.04.030 Distribution of ordinance.

Copies of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall be filed with the department of public works, bureau of building and codes administration, county auditor, State Examiner, Fire Chiefs’ Association, all Whatcom County fire districts and municipal fire departments, State Insurance Commissioner, and such other agencies or other individuals including, but not limited to, unions, contractors’ associations and insurance committees as deemed appropriate by the director of the department of public works. (Ord. 82-19 (part)).


Prior legislation: Res. of 4/5/76, prior code §§ 1.52.010, 1.52.020, 1.52.030, 1.52.040. Code reviser’s note: The provisions of Ord. 93-003 (as amended by Ord. 93-042), amending subsection B of § 2.04.010 become effective January 1, 1994. Prior to that date, the former provisions of that subsection remain in effect. A copy of those provisions is on file in the office of the clerk of the county council.