The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Fire Prevention, Code Enforcement, Concurrent Jurisdiction

Reference Number: MTAS-589
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 06, 2017
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Municipal fire prevention and building officials, fire chiefs, and mayors of cities without fire departments are given "concurrent jurisdiction" to enforce the provisions of the basic law for the state fire marshal’s authority, which is T.C.A. §§ 68-120-101, et seq. This chapter supersedes "all less stringent provisions of municipal ordinances". T.C.A. § 68-120-106.

A fire inspector may issue a citation when a property owner fails to comply with a written order by the inspector to remedy an inherently dangerous building or a building containing flammable matter. The inspector or district attorney also may file a petition for an injunction against any person responsible for a dangerous or defective building. T.C.A. § 68-102-117. In incorporated cities or places having either a fire marshal or a fire department, the city will appoint either the fire marshal or the fire chief as an assistant to the commissioner of commerce and insurance, subject to his or her direction and the duties and obligations imposed upon the commissioner. In cities with no fire marshal, a fire marshal from another local government may be an assistant to the state commissioner on behalf of that city. T.C.A. § 68-102-108.

Smoke alarms that are required in one- and two-family dwellings must be installed in accordance with the International Residential Code published by the International Code Council and the manufacturer’s instructions unless these conflict with applicable codes adopted by the fire marshal. Smoke alarms may be battery operated when installed in dwellings without commercial power. T.C.A. §§ 68-102-151 and 68-120-111.

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