Fire marshal

A "no smoking" sign at a gas station by order of the state fire marshal. The fire marshal is often charged with enforcing fire-related laws.

A fire marshal or fire commissioner, in the United States and Canada, is often a member of a state, provincial or territorial government, but may be part of a building department or a separate department altogether. Fire marshals' duties vary but usually include fire code enforcement or investigating fires for origin and cause. Fire marshals may be sworn law-enforcement officers and are often experienced firefighters. In larger cities with substantially developed fire departments the local fire departments are sometimes delegated some of the duties of the fire marshal.

A fire marshal's duties vary by location. Fire marshals may carry a weapon, wear a badge, wear a uniform or plain clothes, and make arrests pertaining to arson and related offenses, or, in other localities, may have duties entirely separate from law enforcement, including building- and fire-code-related inspections. In many areas, the fire marshal is responsible for enforcing laws concerning flammable materials.


In Ontario, the Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario (OFM), part of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, provides support to municipal fire departments, sets training requirements for firefighters, and advises the government on legislation. The Fire Marshal is responsible for investigating the origins of fires.[1]

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