Periodic fire prevention inspections are the backbone of code enforcement for any successful Fire Marshal’s Office. Fire code maintenance inspections are periodic premise assessments, performed by Asheville Fire Code Officials, who have been tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the occupants, the safety of emergency responders, and the preservation of property through the City of Asheville’s adoption of the North Carolina Fire Code. There are provisions in the State Fire Code requiring a specific schedule to walk through and identify violations of the code in occupancies. The owners, managers, and occupants are responsible for adherence to all maintenance and construction issues addressed in the code. However, hazards and code violations will occur over time purely because simple items are overlooked, items are not maintained between checkups, complicated or costly procedures are neglected, or as a result of decay. Ensuring the performance of both the active and the passive fire protection systems installed in structures is critical. Many trade-offs have justifiably been made in specific areas of the building and fire codes over the years because of additional requirements in other areas. A prime example is the requirement for fire sprinkler protection. If allowed travel distances were increased or interior flammability requirements diminished during construction, because of the increased protection afforded by fire sprinklers, the need for an operable fire sprinkler system becomes obvious. Periodic fire inspections ensure that these protective systems or assemblies are properly maintained and operable.
Over the years we have become responsible for providing more diverse services. These different levels of service were dictated by the rapid growth in our business community and the cost-effective use of limited city resources.
These duties are provided within three sub-sections. These include Administration, Fire Inspections, and Fire/Arson Investigations.
Our Fire Marshal provides the day to day supervision of the division’s personnel. He is responsible for administering the programs assigned to this division, including the implementation, administration and enforcement of the provisions of the NC State Fire Prevention Code. Requirements that are essential for the public safety of an existing or proposed activity, building or structure, or for the safety of the occupants, which are not specifically provided for by the fire code are determined by the fire marshal or his designee. He is also delegated with the authority to render interpretations of the city fire protection ordinance, and to adopt policies, procedures, rules and regulations in order to clarify the application of its provisions and the State Fire Code as well. His office is located at 100 Court Plaza in the Headquarters Station 1.
Fire Prevention Inspections
This section is supervised by Deputy Fire Marshals (DFM), geographically assigned into Battalion areas, with a staff of Assistant Fire Marshals working under them.
Their Assistant Fire Marshals (AFM) are responsible for conducting periodic fire prevention inspections, as established by the NC Office of State Fire Marshal for existing premises, as well as new construction permit inspections. Asheville City Council adopted a fee schedule for periodic fire inspections. These fees are based on a cost recovery basis. Each assistant fire marshal conducts fire inspections of every commercial premise located within the City of Asheville. Inspections are also conducted for Certificates of Compliance for altered existing structures, new construction, or those buildings with new occupants. Confidence or acceptance testing of fire protection and life safety systems is also managed under this section. Operational fire prevention permits for various regulated activities are inspected by the section.
Inspection compliance is achieved through the utilization of adopted codes, standards, and ordinances of the City of Asheville, NFPA National Fire Codes, and the NC State Fire Prevention Code. As a part of our local ordinance, each structure is inspected and the hazards found are listed for the owner / occupant. Also, their enforcement of the fire code allows for identification of unsafe property such as open, vacant structures, which are a danger to the community and firefighters. Several items, which are of primary importance to life safety, are fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, means of egress, and other fire extinguishing systems. Our offices are located at:
100 Court Plaza in Station 1 for Battalion One which covers the North/East area.
7 Rocky Ridge Rd in Station 11 for Battalion Two which covers the South/West area.
161 S. Charlotte Street in Development Services for the Fire Plans Examiners for both Battalions
Arson Investigator David Cutshall supervises this branch of the Technical Services Section. He is a sworn law enforcement officer, as well as a firefighter. He supervises all criminal investigations regarding arsons, bombings, and associated fire scene criminal activities within the City of Asheville.
We have a unique program where certain Assistant Fire Marshal's (AFM) work a 24hr shift. These AFM’s work under the supervision of the Fire - Arson Investigator. They are responsible for the initial fire scene origin and cause investigation.
Fires that are determined to be criminal acts, have an undetermined origin, involve a serious fire injury and/or fire death are referred to the Asheville Buncombe Arson Task Force (ABATF). This unit was formed in 1992 in cooperation with the Asheville Fire Department, the Buncombe County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, the Asheville Police Department, the NC State Bureau of Investigation, and Ron Moore, 28th District Attorney. Asheville Fire - Arson Investigator David Cutshall is the current Director of this Task Force.
This fire department branch and the ABATF offices are at 7 Rocky Ridge Rd in Fire Station 11.
Fire - Arson Investigator
Office Phone: (828) 255-5321
Fire Marshal’s Staff Directory
Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff Payne firstname.lastname@example.org 828-259-5441
Assistant Fire Marshal Amy Pollard email@example.com 828-259-5497
Assistant Fire Marshal Rusty Freck firstname.lastname@example.org 828-259-5531
Assistant Fire Marshal Lewis Garrison email@example.com 828-259-5642
Deputy Fire Marshal Trevis Allen firstname.lastname@example.org 828-259-5650
Assistant Fire Marshal Andrew Cowan email@example.com 828-251-4079
Assistant Fire Marshal Tracy Coggins firstname.lastname@example.org 828- 232-4588
Assistant Fire Marshal Travis Salters email@example.com 828-251-4022
Plan Review & Permits
Deputy Fire Marshal Brian Ronie firstname.lastname@example.org 828-251-4012
Deputy Fire Marshal James Freeman email@example.com 828-251-4006
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Inspections
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Vacant Commercial Premises.
A Deputy Fire Marshal reviews applications for commercial construction, tents, and temporary uses. They are responsible for ensuring code compliance for site plans, building plans, exit door hardware, fire protection systems, hood system installations, and any plans associated with Fire Prevention Code Construction Permits. For questions regarding new construction, please visit Development Services.
Open burning is allowed only when specifically permitted by the WNC Regional Air Quality Agency. In their letter to City Manager Jim Westbrook dated June 5, 2001, the agency states it cannot allow open burning within municipalities where public trash pick-up is available. This is defined in their rule 1903(b)(1)(B).
Fines range from $500 to $10,000, excluding the costs associated with extinguishment of the fire ($250 per hour).
Machine piled debris or the use of an air curtain device for land clearing burning may be allowed under a special permit issued by their office and a permit issued by the Asheville Fire Dept. The owner of the property must apply for the permit where the burning will occur per section 307.2 of the NC Fire Code.
Recreational fires are exempt from a permit, if in compliance with section 307.3.2 and 307.4 of the NC Fire Code. A recreational fire cannot exceed 3 feet in diameter or 2 feet in height and must not contain rubbish, trash, or building materials. The fire must be constantly attended and have a 4-A fire extinguisher, water hose, or other fire extinguishing material available for immediate use. Recreational fires must be a least 25 feet away from structures or combustible materials. Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in North Carolina and trash burning is illegal within the Asheville city limits. Asheville Fire and Rescue urges citizens to be extremely careful if they choose to use outdoor grills or recreational fires.
Periodic Fire Code Inspections are required by the NC State Fire Code section 106
“In order to preserve and to protect public health and safety, and to satisfy the requirements of General Statute General Statute 160A-424, political subdivisions assuming inspection duties, as set out in General Statute 160A-411, shall have a periodic inspection schedule for the purpose of identifying activities and conditions in buildings, structures, and premises that pose dangers of fire, explosion, or related hazards.”
These fire inspections are required for all premises, except one and two family dwellings, and are scheduled based on your type of occupancy as defined by the State Fire Code. The examples below illustrate the minimum frequency rate of inspections; however, it is not an all inclusive list.
For more information, contact our office at 828-259-5640, or click on the links below
1 Year Inspections - FAQ
Assembly - Restaurants, clubs, gyms, and places of entertainment, etc.
Hazardous - Hazardous materials, flammable liquids and explosives facilities, etc.
Institutional - Hospital, nursing homes, licensed care facilities, jails, etc.
Residential – Apartments, hotels, motels, dormitories, etc.
High-Rise Buildings – all use types.
2 Year Inspections - FAQ
Factory-Industrial Facilities – manufacturing and assembly plants, etc.
Educational Facilities – Private schools, except public schools are inspected every six months.
3 Year Inspections – FAQ
Assembly –with an occupant load less than 100
Businesses – Banks, barber and beauty shops, gas stations and self-service, educational occupancies above the 12th grade, print shops, professional service offices (architects, attorneys, dentists, physicians, engineers), etc.
Mercantile- Department stores, drug stores, markets, retail or wholesale stores, etc.
Storage Facilities – Warehouses, garages, hangers
Churches and Synagogues
Miscellaneous – Tanks, silos, greenhouses, etc
Details of all Fire and Rescue Department Fees and Charges
Important information on our Citation Program that addresses when civil fines may be issued for fire code violations.
You may view and print a Fire Lane Appeal Form and/or a Fire Code Citation Form.
For more information regarding permits, visit Development Services.
For more information regarding trade show regulations, visit . Fire Codes on Trade Show Regulations.