Salisbury Press

Sunday, April 5, 2020


Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Local News

Proposed fire code legislation expected to be drafted and reviewed

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners expects to review a draft of a proposed fire inspection program at its next meeting, 7 p.m. Sept. 12, in the Municipal Building meeting room.

"You must start with the enabling legislation," Salisbury Township Manager Randy Soriano said during the workshop after the Aug. 22 township meeting.

Soriano said the fire code inspection and property maintenance inspection should be kept separate.

A job description must be written for a part-time fire code inspector. A fee schedule for inspections must be determined.

"The police will oversee administrative aspects," Soriano said. "It would make sense to put them [fire inspectors] under the police department."

Salisbury Township Police Officer and Township Fire Marshall Sgt. Don Sabo Jr. said the legislation would need to include the power of arrest.

A police officer would write a citation for a fire code violation, similar to issuing a traffic citation or summary offense.

"We do have a working plan as to how this would work," Sabo said.

"We're all on the same page. We've been talking for the past two weeks," Sabo said of the police department and township volunteer fire company officials.

Of the proposed legislation, Sabo said, "Just having it in place, we're going to see a lot of issues resolved."

Board Vice President Robert Martucci Jr. and Commissioner Debra Brinton agreed with moving forward with a fire code ordinance prior in determining the job description for a fire-code enforcement officer and the enforcement procedure.

The plan is to have a draft copy of the fire code ready for review at the next township meeting, 7 p.m. Sept. 12, and have it on the agenda of the 7 p.m. Sept. 26 meeting for consideration of a vote on approval or disapproval.

The proposed ordinance would need to be advertised before being voted on.

Recommended changes to the proposed legislation are to be emailed to Salisbury Township Building Code Official & Code Enforcement Officer Sandy Nicolo.

Nicolo will work on the fee structure.

"The sooner we get this implemented the better," said board President James Brown of the fire code.

The inspection program requires a township fire code ordinance, which the township lacks.

Inspections would cover alarm systems, restaurant kitchen hood suppression units and sprinkler systems.

A state-Certified Fire Inspector is required.

The fire inspector, or inspectors, could be members of the volunteer fire departments: Eastern Salisbury Fire Company and Western Salisbury Fire Company. There are two CFIs on the township fire departments' staffs. The CFIs would become part-time township employees.

Cost of the program is estimated at $24,000 annually if inspections are done by a third-party, or outside consultant.

The estimate is calculated at 400 man hours per year for inspection at a cost of $60 per hour.

Township firefighters have proposed $40 an hour per fire inspection, with $25 per hour going to the inspector and $15 to the township for administrative costs.

There are 88 commercial buildings of 2.1 million square feet in Salisbury. These include Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest, the South Mall, churches, restaurants, gas stations and apartment complexes of three units or more.

Apartments of two units and single-family dwellings would be exempt.

The fire code and inspection program was first discussed publicly at the Aug. 8 township meeting.