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U.S. State Fire Code Enforcement: Maine – Montana

The following list contains contact information for the Office of the Fire Marshal for each of the listed states. In some cases, the code enforcement agency may not be the Fire Marshal, which is noted. Important historical fires and disasters which have had an impact on fire codes are also detailed.

Every attempt has been made to ensure that this information is current, but for the latest information, always refer to the State or local agency responsible for code enforcement in your region.

Maine State Fire Marshall

Maine
Maine State Fire Marshal
45 Commerce Drive, Suite 1
Augusta, Maine 04330
 
Mailing Address:
52 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0052
 
Phone: 207-626-3870
Web: http://www.maine.gov/dps/fmo/index.htm

The State Fire Marshal's Office originated in 1937 as the Division of State Fire Prevention to combat fraudulent insurance claims. On July 1, 1972, the division was transferred to the newly created Department of Public Safety.

Fire Facts:
  • The Great Fire of Portland, Maine of July 4, 1866, resulted in half the city burning down (at least 1,500 structures), but only two deaths (10,000 were made homeless). The fire was believed to have been started by Independence Day celebration fireworks.
  • 1947 was known as "The Year Maine Burned" as raging forest fires resulted statewide in more than 200,000 acres, 851 permanent homes, and 397 seasonal cottages being destroyed.
Maryland Fire Marshal

Maryland

Maryland State Fire Marshal
1201 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, MD 21208
 
Phone: 410-653-8980 / 800-525-3124
Fax: 410-653-8988
Email: sfmo@mdsp.org
Web: http://firemarshal.state.md.us/

The Office of State Fire Marshal in Maryland was first created in 1894 to investigate suspicious fires throughout the state and prosecute guilty parties. In 1916, the position of State Fire Marshal was abolished and its powers and duties transferred to the State Insurance Commissioner who was authorized to appoint an additional deputy to handle fire duties. In 1964, the office of State Fire Marshal was reestablished, along with the State Fire Prevention Commission, a new State Fire Prevention Code, and a revision of laws pertaining to fires and investigations, fireworks, and explosives. In 1997, the State Fire Marshal and the State Fire Prevention Commission were transferred from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to the Department of State Police. Today, the Maryland State Fire Marshal is a law enforcement officer and is charged with investigation and prosecution of suspicious fires and arson throughout the state.

Fire Facts:
  • The February 7 – 8, 1904 Great Baltimore Fire destroyed a major part of central Baltimore, Maryland. Over 1,500 buildings, covering an area of 140 acres were destroyed, but no lives lost. As a result of the fire, Baltimore adopted a city building code.
Massachusetts State Fire Marshal

Massachusetts
Department of Fire Services
PO Box 1025, State Road
Stow, MA 01775
 
Phone: 978-567-3100
Web: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/

The Massachusetts Fire Marshal is the head of the Department of Fire Services, which is an agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Fire Facts:
  • On March 16, 1631, Thomas Sharp's home burned to the ground after his wooden chimney caught fire - the first recorded fire in Boston, Massachusetts. As a direct result, Boston passed a fire prevention ordinance banning thatched roofs and wooden chimneys.
  • On January 14, 1653, a fire in Boston left three dead and a third of the population homeless. Boston adopted a set of fire prevention laws for the mutual protection of the city from fire.
  • On November 27, 1676 a large fire destroyed about 45 buildings in Boston. As a result, the city purchased a fire engine, and became the first town in the Americas to have paid fire fighters. Building laws were enacted requiring slate or tile roofs and brick walls.
  • On August 8, 1679, a fire in Boston destroyed 150 buildings and several vessels near the town dock. As a result, a law specifying use of brick or stone for construction of any structure in the town of Boston was enacted.
  • On October 2, the Boston Fire of 1711 consumed 100 buildings in the blocks of the town center around the commercial district.
  • On March 20, the Great Boston Fire of 1760 ravaged the city, consuming 350 homes, shops, and warehouses. This was the worst fire in a colonial American city and Boston asked for aid from the King and Parliament. While the other colonies made donations of aid, the British government refused to help. Some historians believe the Crown's indifference to Boston's plight may have been an incitement for the dissent that would eventually lead to revolution.
  • On July 13, 1846 the worst fire in Nantucket's history destroyed one third of the town, 300 buildings. Markets and shops, factories, warehouses, three of the town's four wharves, and many homes were gone. Approximately 800 people became homeless. Nantucket had been the undisputed whaling capital of the world. The fire destroyed so much infrastructure that the industry never recovered.
  • On November 9, The Great Boston Fire of 1872 decimated Boston's business district and killed 30 people. 65 acres of commercial property, 800 buildings (nearly 1,000 businesses) were destroyed. In less than two years, due primarily to the private capital of Boston's commercial property owners, the decimated district was quickly rebuilt.
  • On November 26, 1889, the Great Lynn Fire burned about 100 buildings in Lynn, Massachusetts. Nearly a century later, another fire on November 28, 1981, devastated the historic district.
  • On April 12, 1908 the Great Chelsea Fire destroyed nearly half of Chelsea, Massachusetts (3,500 buildings). In 1973, the Second Great Chelsea Fire would burn 18 city blocks.
  • On June 25, the Great Salem Fire of 1914 destroyed 1,376 buildings over 253 acres leaving 20,000 homeless.
  • On October 28, 1915 the St. Johns School Fire in Peabody, Massachusetts resulted in the deaths of 21 girls. The girls, between the ages of 7 and 17, were burned or crushed to death while attempting to escape the fire. As a result of the fire, Peabody became the first city to mandate a code that all doors in public buildings must open outwards.
  • On November 28, 1942, the Cocoanut Grove Fire in Boston killed 492 people and injured hundreds more, becoming the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. The tragedy shocked the nation, and led to new codes and safety standards across the U.S.
Michigan State Police Fire Marshal

Michigan
Bureau of Fire Services
P.O. Box 30700
Lansing, MI 48909
 
Phone: 517-241-8847
Fax: 517-335-4061
Email: statefiremarshal@michigan.gov
Web: http://www.michigan.gov/bfs

The Bureau of Fire Services is a division of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Fire Facts:
  • The June 11, Great Fire of 1805 leveled Detroit. Most of the settlement was burned. A river warehouse and the brick chimneys of the wooden homes (now burned) were the only structures left standing.
  • On October 8, 1871, in series of simultaneous forest fires collectively known as The Great Michigan Fire, several cities, towns and villages, including Holland, Manistee, White Rock, and Port Huron suffered serious damage or were destroyed along with much of the "thumb region" of Michigan (about 1.2 million acres). At least 250 are estimated to have died. The more infamous Great Chicago Fire and to a lesser extent the Peshtigo Fire overshadowed this event.
  • The September 5, 1881 great Thumb Fire burned over a million acres in less than a day, destroying 3,000 buildings, and killing 380 people in the Sanilac, Lapeer, Tuscola, and Huron counties of Michigan.
  • On October 15, 1908, the Metz Fire burned 2.5 million acres of Presque Isle County, Michigan, and most of the area of Metz. The town of Metz was destroyed and 43 people were dead.
  • On December 24, 1913 the Italian Hall Disaster occurred in Calumet, Michigan when a false shout of "Fire!" at a crowded Christmas party resulted in 73 men, women, and children being crushed to death in a stampede to exit. 59 of the dead were children.
Minnesota State Fire Marshal

Minnesota
Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Minnesota State Fire Marshal
445 Minnesota Street
Saint Paul MN 55101-5155
 
Mailing Address:
444 Cedar Street
Saint Paul MN 55101-5155
 
Phone: 651-201-7000
Web: http://dps.mn.gov/divisions/sfm/Pages/default.aspx

The Office of State Fire Marshal is a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Fire Facts:
  • The September 1, 1894 Great Hinckley Fire burned over 200,000 acres in Pine County, Minnesota. The fire completely destroyed the towns of Hinckley, Mission Creek, and Brook Park. The town of Sandstone also suffered. At least 418 people were killed.
  • Beginning October 10, the 1918 Cloquet Fire was actually a series of wildfires that devastated much of Carlton County, Minnesota. While the town of Cloquet was the hardest hit, the towns of Moose Lake and Kettle River were also badly damaged. 250,000 acres burned, 38 communities were destroyed, 453 people died, and 52,000 were injured or homeless.
Mississippi State Fire Marshal

Mississippi
Mississippi Insurance Department
Mississippi State Fire Marshal
1001 Woolfolk State Office Building
501 North West Street
Jackson, MS 39201
 
Phone: 888-648-0877
Web: http://www.mid.state.ms.us/state_fire_marshal/state_fire_marshal_office.aspx

The Mississippi Insurance Department was created as a separate department in 1902. The Commissioner of Insurance is also the State Fire Marshal and directs the investigation of all fires of a suspicious nature. Through the State Fire Marshal Division, the Commissioner administers the Mississippi Fire Prevention Code.

Fire Facts:
  • On April 23, 1940 the Rhythm Night Club Fire in Natchez, Mississippi resulted in the deaths of 209, with hundreds injured. Over 700 had been in attendance for a performance by Walter Barnes and His Royal Creolians when fire broke out near the main entrance. Barnes and nine members of his band were among the dead. The city passed new fire laws to prevent the overcrowding of buildings.
Missouri State Fire Marshal

Missouri
Missouri Department of Public Safety
Division of Fire Safety
Jefferson Office Building
205 Jefferson Street, 13th Floor
Jefferson City, MO 65101
 
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 844
Jefferson City, MO 65102
 
Phone: 573-526-5701
Fax: 573-751-5710
Email: firesafe@dfs.dps.mo.gov
Web: http://www.dfs.dps.mo.gov/

The State Fire Marshal's office was established in 1972, and transferred to the Missouri Department of Public Safety in 1974. In 1985, the State Fire Marshal's Office became known as the Division of Fire Safety.

Fire Facts:
  • The May 17, St. Louis Fire of 1849 started on a steamboat and quickly spread to the docks and other parts of the city. 430 buildings, 23 steamboats and several other flat boats and barges were destroyed. 3 lives were lost, including the first recorded U.S. death of a firefighter being killed in the line of duty. Afterwards, building codes required new structures to be built of stone or brick.
  • On February 17, 1957, the Warrenton Nursing Home Fire killed 72 in Warrenton, Missouri. As a result, a bill was passed the following month requiring new minimum safety standards for nursing homes in the state.
Montana State Fire Marshal

Montana
Montana State Fire Marshal
Fire Prevention and Investigation Section
Division of Criminal Investigation
Department of Justice
2225 11th Avenue
Helena, MT 59620-1415
 
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 201415
Helena, MT 59620-1415
 
Phone: 406-444-2050
Fax: 406-444-2759
Web: http://doj.mt.gov/enforcement/investigations-bureau/fire-prevention/

The State Fire Marshal's Office is a division of the Montana Department of Justice.

Fire Facts:
  • The August 20 – 21 Great 1910 Fire (also know as the Big Blowup or The Bitterroot Mountains Holocaust) was one of the largest wildfires ever recorded in the United State. Over 3 million acres burned in northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana. 86 people, including 78 firefighters, were killed. Several towns were completely destroyed by the fire - Falcon and Grand Forks in Idaho; De Borgia, Haugan, Henderson, Taft, and Tuscor in Montana. One-third of Wallace, Idaho burned to the ground. Special trains, crowded with refugees, ferried thousands to safety. The fire of 1910 shaped the U.S. Forest Service, and set new policies for fighting wildfires.
  • The Mann Gulch Fire of August 5, 1949 in Helena National Forest caused the death of 13 firefighters when unexpected high winds caused the fire to rapidly spread.
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