Fire Code Enforcement

Columbia River Fire & Rescue, Columbia County, Columbia City, the City of Prescott, the City of Rainier, and the City of St Helens have adopted the 2003 Edition of the Oregon Fire Code. The Cities and County have also adopted the Fire Code's companion documents:  The Oregon Building Code, The International Mechanical Code, and the International Electrical Specialty Codes.  All of these codes were also adopted by the State of Oregon, though the State makes some specific changes to the base code for Oregon and publishes the Building Code as the "Oregon Structural Specialty Code."

The International Code System is intended to provide fire and building codes that work together to reduce conflicts and surprises for both code enforcement officials and building owners and contractors.  At Columbia River Fire & Rescue, the Fire Marsh and Building Code Officials meet regularly to further reduce the conflicts.  All codes are revised on a three year schedule at the International Level and it usually takes another year for the adoption of the "new code" by the State.

The Fire code applies to Industrial, Commercial and some Multi-Family structures.  The process starts with a "plan review", when a builder submits a set of plans for their building to the Fire Marshal for review prior to beginning construction. Once the plans are approved, the Building Official is responsible for seeing the building is constructed according to the building and specialty codes.  The building process ends when the Building Official issues a "Final Inspection and Occupancy Permit".  The Fire Marshal then inspects the building on a regular basis for continuing compliance with the Fire Code.  Columbia River Fire & Rescue tries to make regular inspections.  if the inspector finds code violations, they will notify the building owner/occupant of the violations and of the amount of time they have to correct the violations.  The inspector will conduct a re-inspection at the end of this time.  If the violations are not corrected, the inspector will continue to issue notices of violation until they are.  While the law allows the Fire Code to be enforced under a citation and fine system, the District has rarely had to go that far.  The building and business owners are concerned about the safety of their employees and customers and have been very cooperative about having their buildings code compliant.

With a few exceptions, the Fire code does NOT apply to existing single-family residences.