The Investigations Section conducts Department Investigations involving; Fire Incidents, Pre-Employment Backgrounds, Professional Standards Violations and Fire Reports.
Fire Prevention & Investigation
The City of Fresno Fire Department is currently required to conduct fire and life safety (maintenance) inspections of all existing commercial buildings used for public assembly, educational purposes, institutions, hazardous, storage, high rise, and multi-family residential buildings within the city and other jurisdictions served by Fire Department. In many cases, the California Health and Safety Code, through legislation, requires annual fire and life safety inspections to be completed by the local fire official. Fire and life safety annual inspections also ensure other locations are in conformance with the California Code of Regulations Title 19, the California Fire Code, the Fresno Municipal Code, and other fire and life safety regulations and standards. These inspections are foremost to ensure lives and properties are not put at undue risk from fire. These inspections provide taxpayers with a cost-effective way to ensure buildings are in compliance with adopted codes and standards, lowering community-wide risk. Annual fire and life safety inspections are substantially different in scope from inspections completed for newly constructed buildings.
Reporting Arson Crimes
The mission of the Fire Investigation Section is to prevent fires by identifying the cause of a fire and neutralizing the threat of a similar incident repeating. All FFD qualified investigators are armed peace officers per California Penal Code section 830.37. FFD Investigators handle fire incidents from ignition through conviction. They are members in good standing with the California Conference of Arson Investigators.
Pre-Employment Background Investigations
Fire Investigators are responsible to conduct all background investigations for FFD candidates modeled after California P.O. S.T. standards. Candidates are examined for qualifications and to assure they meet the Department’s standard for legal, ethical and moral compliance.
Professional Standards Investigations
Any complaint received by or regarding a member of the FFD, may be assigned by the Fire Chief (or designee) to the Investigations Section. All professional standards investigations conducted by the Investigations Section are done according to California P.O.S.T. and California Firefighter Bill of Rights standards.
FFD Investigations Section Team
The Investigations Section Team includes Staff Investigators that maintain M-F, 40-hour office hours. Scene Investigators are scheduled in 48-hour shifts to provide Investigative services 24/7. The FFD Investigations Section maintains a pool of qualified Reserve Investigators in the Suppression Division to draw from when additional help is needed on-scene or during follow-up.
The team is supervised by the Deputy Fire Marshal.
Investigations Section (559) 621-4440
The Fire and Life Safety Maintenance Inspection Process
During a fire and life safety maintenance inspection, a fire prevention inspector will determine if a location has violations. Typically these violations come in two varieties: violations of general fire safe practices or the lack of maintenance of (or absence of) required prescriptive building features. In the event that violations are identified and can be immediately corrected or if the violations are minor in nature, the fire prevention inspector will issue a written order to address the violations. The fire prevention inspector may alternately send a letter with the violations noted with an order to comply. In each of these cases there will be no re-inspection.
Re-inspections are performed for only the most serious fire and life safety hazards. These “distinct hazards” will be re-inspected, typically after 30 days, and, if each violation has been corrected, there will be no re-inspection fee. The only fee would be for the initial inspection previously completed.
However, if the noted violations have not been corrected during the first re-inspection, additional inspections will need to be performed until all corrections have been made, up to and including administrative citations and/or costs for additional litigation. (See below.)
Initial Inspection = Initial fee for service regardless of violations being present
If minor violations found, 30 days to comply with order, no re-inspection until the next regularly scheduled inspection.
If “distinct hazards” found, see Step Two below.
Distinct hazards found
1st Re-inspection = Violations corrected/no additional fee
1st Re-inspection = Violations NOT corrected/additional fee assessed (additional 30 days to comply with order)
2nd Re-inspection = Violations corrected/no additional fee
2nd Re-inspection = Violations NOT corrected/additional fee assessed (additional 30 days to comply with order)
3rd Re-inspection = Violations corrected/no additional fee
3rd Re-inspection = Violations NOT corrected/additional fee assessed and additional administrative penalties may be incurred
Fees for Fire and Life Safety Maintenance Inspections
In accordance with local ordinances (City of Fresno, North Central Fire Protection District, and Fig Garden Fire Protection District), the Fire Department assesses an initial inspection fee for inspection services for specific type of property. Under the same local ordinances and state law, specific properties are required to allow fire inspection. The fees charged for these services reflect only a portion of the true cost for providing fire prevention services, no profit is allowed to be made. In most cases, these fees are adjusted each fiscal year to ensure compliance with the California Government Code.
Through the adoption of the current Master Fee Schedule, the initial inspection fee is based on the following two criterions:
1. A location’s total square footage*
2. The occupancy type.
*In the case of R-1/R-2 occupancies (Hotel -Motel/Apartments/Residential Care Facility), the occupancy hazard type and number of units are used to establish the fee.
Invoices for Fire and Life Safety Inspections
The City of Fresno Fire Department utilizes the services of a third party private contractor for the collection of fire and life safety inspection and permit services fees to ensure the lowest possible cost to fee payers. The current contractor is Payment Processing Services, based in Phoenix, AZ. This company can accommodate checks via standard mail, or can process online payment requests at PPS Payments.
Questions regarding an invoice received, a balance due statement, or other collection related activity should be directed to Payment Processing Services at (888) 821-3725.