Delaware General Assembly




Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Part II, Title 16, Delaware Code of 1953, is amended by adding a new chapter to be entitled Chapter 4, as follows:

Chapter 4. State Fire Marshal

§ 401. Office established; appointment; term; salary

The office of State Fire Marshal is hereby established. The Governor shall appoint, within thirty (30) days, a qualified person who shall be a citizen of this State and who shall have had 5 years combat fire experience. He shall be known as State Fire Marshal, and shall hold his office for a term of four (4) years. The office of the State Fire Marshall shall be located at the State Capitol in quarters to be provided by the State. He shall receive an annual salary of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00). He shall devote his whole time to the duties of his office. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of State Fire Marshal for any reason other than the expiration of a term, the vacancy shall be filled by the Governor for the balance of the unexpired term.

§ 402. Duties and Powers

(a) Except as hereinafter provided, the State Fire Marshal shall enforce all laws and ordinances of the State, and the several counties, cities and political subdivisions thereof having to do with:

(1) Prevention of fires;

(2) The Storage, sale and use of combustibles and explosives;

(3) The installation and maintenance of automatic or other fire alarm systems and fire extinguishing equipment;

(4) The construction, maintenance and regulation of fire escapes;

(5) The means and adequacy of exit, in case of fire, from factories, industrial plants and buildings; asylums, hospitals, churches, schools, halls, theatres, amphitheatres, bowling alleys, apartments, rooming and boarding houses, and all other places in which numbers of persons work, live or congregate from time to time for any purpose, except buildings used wholly as dwelling houses.

(6) The suppression of arson and the investigation of the cause, origin and circumstances of fires;

(7) To assist any chief or any recognized fire company upon request of such chief.

(b) The State Fire Marshal shall inspect all State and County owned institutions, all schools, theatres, churches and other places of public assembly as to fire exits and reasonable safety standards. He may appoint three Deputies, one for each County, who shall be a resident of said County, and who shall have had five (5) years combat fire experience, and shall administer to such persons the usual oath required of State employees and shall further employ such office or clerical employees, as he deems necessary for the orderly administration of his office. He shall be provided with a suitable automobile to be used in the performance of his duties. The cost of maintaining and running said automobile shall be considered as a part of the expenses of the Fire Marshal's office.

(c) It shall be the duty of the State Fire Marshal, his deputies and assistants, to require teachers of public and private schools and educational institutions to have one fire drill each month and to keep all doors and exits unlocked during school hours.

§ 403. Annual report

The State Fire Marshal shall annually, on or before the thirtieth day of September transmit to the Governor a full report of his proceedings under this Chapter and such statistics as he may wish to include therein, unless some other time for reporting is fixed by law; he shall also recommend any amendments to the law which in his judgment shall be desirable.

§ 404. Appeals

Any person aggrieved by any order or action of any officer acting under the provisions of this Act, may appeal from such order to the Superior Court of the County in which the property in question or the party aggrieved or either shall be located or of which such party shall be a resident. Such appeal shall be allowed at any time within fifteen (15) days from receipt of such order by the aggrieved party, notifying the officer entering said order of his desire to appeal from such order and upon notice of such appeal, the officer shall forthwith furnish to the aggrieved party a certified copy of the order appealed from and upon entry of said certified copy together with notice of appeal in the Superior Court as aforesaid, said order shall forthwith be stayed and no further proceedings shall be taken thereon until said appeal shall have been decided by the Superior Court as aforesaid, provided, however, that said appeal together with the certified copy of the order appealed from shall be entered in the Superior Court as aforesaid on or before the first day of the term next after the appeal. Upon receipt of such appeal the Prothonotary, in whose office said appeal shall be filed, shall docket the same and enter it as provided for appeals from Justices of the Peace and all other proceedings thereafter shall be in accordance with appeals from Justices of the Peace.

An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the officer from whom the appeal is taken, certifies to the Justice of the Peace after the notice of appeal has been filed with him, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate, a stay would in his opinion cause imminent peril to life or property.

In such case, proceedings shall not be stayed, except by a restraining order which may be granted by the Justice of the Peace, or by a Court of Record on application and notice to the officer from whom the appeal is taken and for due cause shown.

Section 2. The State Treasurer shall pay for the organization, maintenance and support of the State Fire Marshal's Department upon warrants signed by the State Fire Marshal, from any moneys in the State Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of Seventeen Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($17,500.00) in the aggregate, covering the fiscal years of 1954 and 1955.

Approved July 10, 1953.