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Office of the Fire Marshal

The goal of the Office of the Fire Marshal, Fire Prevention Division, is the prevention of fire, and the safety of the citizens and persons who live and work in, or visit our city. Accomplishing this mission requires vigorous enforcement of the Fire Prevention Code, dissemination of fire safety education information, collection of fire related data, inspection of buildings and structures, accurate determination of the origin and cause of all fires that occur in the District of Columbia, and the arrest of persons suspected of committing the crime of arson. Successful completion of our mission requires the support of every member of the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

The Fire Prevention Division (FPD) is commanded by a Deputy Fire Chief who is designated the Fire Marshal by the Fire & EMS Chief. The division is divided into four major branches. 

Administrative Support Services Branch

This section provides administrative support to the FPD such as procurement, accounting of user fees, processing of fines issued, and compilation of monthly reports, records management, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, personnel record keeping, and the administration of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). Additionally, the adjudication officer is responsible for the processing of all violations of the fire code within the Administrative Hearings court.

Code Enforcement Branch

This branch has fire inspectors assigned to all eight wards of the city. Their responsibilities include:

  • Routine maintenance inspections of all buildings except federally owned or occupied buildings and single-family dwellings. Single-family homes shall be inspected only upon request or receipt of a complaint.
  • Investigation of fire code complaints.
  • Annual license renewal inspections for select occupancies such as health care facilities, rooming houses, Community Residential Facilities (CRF), etc.
  • Inspection of DC public schools.
  • Fire security for the President and other dignitaries when requested by the United States Secret Service.
  • Provide fire safety protection at festivals and large public gatherings.
  • Public assembly inspections of nightclubs, restaurants and theaters performed nightly and on weekends.
  • Assigned to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services.

Technical Inspections Plans and Permits Branch

The Technical Inspections Plans and Permits Branch perform specialized inspections required by the operational permits specified in the ICC International Fire Code as amended by the DCMR Fire Code. Additionally, it provides for plans review, fire evacuation plans review, public space waiver reviews, and reviews of all plans for public assembly events and exhibits.  It is the responsibility of this branch to issue all operational permits required by the code.

This branch includes the following sections:

  • Hazardous Materials Section - Conducts inspections to include illegal dumping of hazardous materials, spills, tank installations, tank removals, explosives, fireworks, pyrotechnics, storage of hazardous materials and gas stations.
  • Health Care Facilities Section - Conducts inspections of hospitals, nursing homes and Institutional Care Facilities (ICF) and Community Residential Facilities (CRF).
  • Institutional Facilities Section - Conducts inspections of correctional facilities, halfway houses, daycare facilities, foster homes, community residential facilities for children, colleges and universities.

Fire Investigations Branch

The three primary responsibilities of this unit are:

  • Origin and Cause Investigations - The responsibility for origin and cause investigations of all fires that occur within the District of Columbia, fire investigators are available to operational companies, outside of normal business hours to assist with fire code violations and fire hazards.
  • Arson Investigation - Members assigned have special police powers for the expressed purpose of enforcing the fire safety laws of the Districts of Columbia.  They are responsible for follow-up investigations of fires classified as arson or are suspicious in nature.  This branch also has two accelerate detection canines for use in detecting the presence of flammable liquids at a fire scene.
  • Juvenile Fire setters Intervention Program - The program provides short-term education - intervention programs designed to enlighten parents and children about fire safety and the consequences of fire.  It is designed for children ages 2 through 17.  Referrals shall be forwarded to (202) 727-1600 during business hours.  In case of an emergency, contact the OUC at (202) 373-3700, and request the Juvenile Fire setter Intervention Program Coordinator.

Outside of normal business hours, when code enforcement staff is unavailable, contact the OUC at (202) 373-3700, for the on-duty fire investigator.

How to Reach Us

Office of the Fire Marshal
1100 4th Street SW
Washington DC 20024
Phone: (202) 727-1614