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East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Chief Gordon Pomeroy now will serve as designated fire code official, also known as the fire marshal.
The designation clears the way for the fire department, which provides fire services in Port Townsend as well as in the unincorporated areas of the county, to have a greater role in conducting annual fire safety inspections in commercial buildings throughout the county.
County commissioners approved the interlocal agreement between the fire department and the county Department of Community Development, or DCD, on Monday.
Through a previous agreement, the fire department had provided fire safety inspection services for Port Townsend.
“This will increase the level of service to county residents, at no additional cost and without increasing the workload of county employees,” DCD Director Carl Smith said.
Smith retains the responsibility of Jefferson County's chief fire prevention officer, but the agreement places the active role of fire inspection and prevention in the hands of the fire department.
“Over the past two years, Assistant Chief Bob Low, our firefighters and the city building department have really ramped up the inspections,” Pomeroy said.
“For example, at the end of 2013, every eating establishment in the city of Port Townsend was in compliance with the fire code.”
Fire department representatives will conduct fire inspections and make recommendations to achieve compliance when code violations are identified.
The department will follow up on any required code violation action, while the county retains final authority for code enforcement.