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U.S. State Fire Code Enforcement: Ohio – Texas

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.

Ohio State Fire Marshall

The Ohio Department of Commerce
Division of State Fire Marshal
8895 East Main Street
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 614-752-8200 / 888-252-0803

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is a division of the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Fire Facts:
  • On March 4, 1908 fire consumed the Lake View School in Collinwood, Ohio. One hundred seventy-two students, two teachers and a rescuer died. Most of the victims died from smoke inhalation in the crush to get out, jammed into staircases. Some died jumping from second and third story windows. Following the fire, there was a national effort to change doors in public buildings so that they opened outward with "panic-bar" latches.
  • On May 15, 1929, the Cleveland Clinic Fire killed 123 and injured 48, mainly due to poisonous gases resulting from a large quantity of x-ray film burning. Considering the death toll, there was very little property damage. Following the disaster, the city of Cleveland started issuing gas masks to its fire fighters.
  • On April 21, 1930, a major fire in the north wing at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus Ohio killed 322 inmates and seriously injured 150 more. At the time of the fire, there were 4,300 inmates living in the jail designed to hold 1,500. When the fire broke out, the initial thought was that it was part of an escape attempt, so the warden and guards waited for additional National Guard reinforcements before releasing prisoners from cells. Firefighters, who had responded quickly, were also not allowed in until the guardsmen arrived. Many burned alive, locked in their cells. In the aftermath of the fire, the state legislature created measures to address the overcrowding. The Ohio Parole Board was established in 1931, and more than 2,300 of the prisoners were released on parole during the following year.
  • On October 20, 1944 an explosion at the East Ohio Gas Company's Tank Farm in Columbus, Ohio triggered a further series of explosions. At first, the disaster was limited to the tanks at the farm, but then the explosions and fires started traveling through sewers and drains throughout the neighborhood. One square mile are was obliterated, 131 were killed, 225 injured, and over 600 left homeless as 79 homes, 2 factories, numerous cars, and miles of underground infrastructure were destroyed. Following the disaster, below ground natural gas storage became the preferred method of storage by utilities companies.
  • On November 23, 1963 fire burned through the Golden Age Nursing Home killing 63 elderly patients. Though overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, eventually this fire, along with several other hospital and nursing home fires, resulted in revisions of the Social Security Act to include enforcement of the NFPA Life Safety Code as a condition for eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement in hospitals and nursing homes receiving federal reimbursement.
Oklahoma State Fire Marshal


Office of the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal
2401 NW 23rd, Suite 4
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73107
Phone: 405-522-5005
Fax: 405-522-5028

The State Fire Marshal's Office was established in 1910, and then abolished in 1957. Over the next few years, the need for the office was recognized and the State Marshal's Office was reestablished in 1965.

Fire Facts:
  • On June 25, 1985 three major explosions leveled the 10-acre Aerlex Fireworks Plant in Hallet, Oklahoma killing 21 and injuring 5. A 6 week-old kitten emerged from the rubble, fur smoking, whiskers crinkled, suffering second-degree burns. Given the name "Smokey,", she was quickly adopted.
Oregon State Fire Marshal

Office of State Fire Marshal
4760 Portland Road NE
Salem, OR 97305-1760
Phone: 503-378-3473
Fax: 503-373-1825

The Office of State Fire Marshal is a division of the Oregon State Police.

Fire Facts:
  • On December 8, 1922 fire swept through 24 blocks of the business district of Astoria, Oregon, destroying the entire downtown area.
Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal

Office of the State Fire Commissioner
2605 Interstate Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-651-2200 / 800-670-3473
Fax: 717-651-2210
Pennsylvania State Police
Office of the Fire Marshal
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-783-5528

Over 90% of Pennsylvania's municipalities administer and enforce building codes locally. For the other regions, code enforcement in Pennsylvania resides with the Department of Labor & Industry. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is part the Pennsylvania State Police Law Enforcement department and has jurisdiction over arson investigation. The first Pennsylvania fire commissioner was appointed in 1976 and is responsible for the training and development of Pennsylvania fire and emergency response.

Fire Facts:
  • In response to a major fire in Philadelphia in 1730, Benjamin Franklin and twenty-five other citizens of Philadelphia organized the first volunteer fire company on December 7, 1736.
  • On April 10, 1845, the Great Fire of Pittsburgh destroyed a third of the city, burning as many as 1,200 buildings over 60 acres and leaving 12,000 homeless. Only two people died.
  • On December 19, 1907 a gas and coal dust explosion at the Pittsburg Coal Company's Darr Mine near Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania left 239 men and boys dead. Nationwide, over 3,000 miners died in December 1907, the worst month in U.S. coal mining history.
  • On January 13, 1908, fire during a church-sponsored stage play at the Rhoads Opera Housein Boyertown, Pennsylvania killed 171, one-tenth of the town's population. As a result of the disaster, Pennsylvania's first fire law was enacted in 1909.
  • On April 10, 1917, the "F" building at the Eddystone, Pennsylvania Ammunition Plant exploded, killing 133 workers and injuring hundreds more, mainly young women.
  • On November 14, 1927 a repairman caused an explosion at the Equitable Gas Gasometer (above ground storage tank) in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The tank, containing 5 million cubic feet of natural gas rose into the air like a balloon and exploded, raining fire and metal shrapnel over a one-mile radius. 28 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
  • On May 19, 1928, an explosion at the Mather Colliers Company No. 1 Mine in Mather, Pennsylvania killed 195.
Rhode Island State Fire Marshal

Rhode Island
Rhode Island Office of the State Fire Marshal
118 Parade Street
Providence, RI 02909
Phone: 401-472-4200
Fax: 401-462-4250

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

Fire Facts:
  • On February 20, 2003, stage pyrotechnics during a song by the band, "White Snake" caused a fire at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, killing 100 and injuring 200 others. Although required by existing codes to have an automatic sprinkler system, the club did not. Post accident analysis confirmed that the presence of an automatic sprinkler system would have slowed the fire, allowing everyone to escape safely.
South Carolina State Fire Marshal

South Carolina
Office of the State Fire Marshal
South Carolina Division of Fire and Life Safety
141 Monticello Trail
Columbia, SC 29203
Phone: 803-896-9800

The Office of State Fire Marshal is part of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Fire Facts:
  • On November 18, the Great Fire of 1740 destroyed a significant part of the merchant district in Charleston, North Carolina.
  • On December 11, another Great Fire of 1861 destroyed one-third of the city of Charleston. Thousands were left homeless. Even before the city fell to the Union army in 1865, Charleston looked like it had been devastated by war.
  • On May 17, 1923 a fire during a play at the small Cleveland School just southeast of Camden, South Carolina killed 77. Building codes were passed to ensure schools be built with fire escapes.
South Dakota State Fire Marshal

South Dakota
South Dakota Department of Public Safety
Office of the State Fire Marshal
118 West Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605-773-3562
Fax: 605-773-6631

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is under the purview of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Fire Facts:
  • A September 26, 1879 fire decimated the town of Deadwood, South Dakota, destroying over 300 buildings, and leaving 2,000 homeless. At the time, Deadwood was the largest and wealthiest town in the Dakota Territory.
Tennessee State Fire Marshal

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance
Office of the State Fire Marshal
500 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, TN 37243-0565
Phone: 615-741-2981
Fax: 615-741-1583
Email: Fire.Prevention@TN.Gov

The Office of State Fire Marshal is a division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Fire Facts:
  • On April 27, 1865, three of the four ship's boilers on the steamboat paddle wheeler SS Sultana exploded about eight miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. Hot coals scattered by the explosion turned the remaining wreckage into a burning hulk. 2,400 passengers had been aboard. Those who survived the explosion now faced the prospect of burning to death on the ship or braving the Mississippi, now icy and swollen with spring run off. Many drowned or died of hypothermia. The death toll would reach 1,850 killed in the initial explosion, by fire, or by water. The wreckage drifted to the west bank of the Mississippi and sank near Mound City, Arkansas. Bodies would continue to be found downriver for months.
  • On March 22, 1922, fire in East Nashville, Tennessee destroyed 500 homes leaving 2,500 homeless.
  • On June 26, 1977, fire at the Maury County Jail killed 42 people and injured an additional 30. The majority of the jail's inmates were not convicts, but were recent arrests awaiting trial.
Texas State Fire Marshal

Texas Department of Insurance
State Fire Marshal's Office
333 Guadalupe
Austin, Texas 78701
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 149221
Austin, Texas 78714-9221
Phone: 512-305-7900 / 800-578-4677

Established in 1910, the State Fire Marshal's Office is a division of the Texas Department of Insurance.

Fire Facts:
  • On March 19, 1937 a natural gas leak explosion destroyed the London School of New London, Texas killing 295 students and teachers. It remains the worst disaster to take place in a U.S. school. The news made worldwide headlines, and even German Chancellor Adolf Hitler sent a telegram of condolence (now on display at the New London Museum). Within two months, the Texas legislature passed a law requiring refiners to add a scent to natural gas (otherwise odor free).
  • On April 15, 1947, a fire started in the hold of the French freighter Grandcamp docked at Texas City, Texas, which would turn into the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history. The ship was loaded with 1,400 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Shortly after 9:00 am a massive fireball engulfed the ship. Burning fragments of the Grandcamp, some weighing several tons, showered down throughout the port and town for several minutes causing more fires. Within minutes, the Monsanto chemical plant exploded, adding to the chaos as crude oil tanks burst into flames. Shortly after midnight, another freighter, The High Flyer, carrying an additional 1,000 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer detonated, starting another chain reaction series of explosions and fires. The seaport was destroyed, most of the business district of Texas City was devastated and one-third of the town's homes were condemned. More than 500 people died, and another 3,500 were injured.
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