City of Schenectady, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarms — See Ch. 124.
Building, plumbing and electrical standards — See Ch. 138.
Fire insurance claims — See Ch. 155.
Housing standards — See Ch. 167.
Zoning — See Ch. 264.
[Adopted 3-6-1972 by Ord. No. 15691]

§ 156-1 Adoption of standards.

[Amended 10-9-1984 by Ord. No. 84-85]
There is hereby adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady for the purpose of prescribing regulations governing conditions hazardous to life and property from fire or explosion that certain code known as the "New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code," amended 10-9-1984 by Ord. No. 84-85, save and except such portions as are hereinafter deleted, modified or amended, of which code not less than three copies have been and now are filed in the office of the Clerk of the City of Schenectady and the same are hereby adopted and incorporated as fully as if set out at length herein, and from the date on which this article shall take effect, the provisions thereof shall be controlling within the limits of the City of Schenectady.

§ 156-2 Administration and enforcement.

[Amended 10-9-1984 by Ord. No. 84-85]
The New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code shall be administered and enforced as follows:
A. 
Intent. It is the intent of this code to prescribe regulations consistent with nationally recognized good practices for the safeguarding of life and property from hazards of fire and explosion arising from the storage, handling and use of hazardous substances, materials and devices and conditions hazardous to life or property in the use or occupancy of buildings or premises. Compliance with standards of the National Fire Protection Association shall be deemed to be prima facie evidence of compliance with this intent.
B. 
Qualifications of the Fire Inspector.
(1) 
Generally.
(a) 
The qualifications for appointment of the Fire Inspector shall be completion of a standard high school course and five years' experience as a fireman, or any equivalent combination of experience and training.
(b) 
General statement of duties. The Fire Inspector shall inspect buildings for compliance with fire prevention laws and ordinances and performs related fire-fighting duties as required. Work involves routine inspection of buildings in an assigned district to ensure compliance with city ordinances and the Building Code. Employees in this class are members of the Fire Department and perform the work under the general supervision of the Fire Chief or Assistant Fire Chief.
(c) 
Required knowledges, skills and abilities. Good knowledge of local fire prevention laws and ordinances; working knowledge of state and local building codes; working knowledge of modern fire-fighting and -prevention methods; good knowledge of the geography of the city; ability to recognize fire hazards; firmness, tact; good judgment; and good physical condition.
(2) 
Civilian. Minimum requirements.
(a) 
Associate's degree in fire science from an accredited school and have completed two years of practical experience or any equivalent combination of experience and education.
(b) 
General statement of duties. Inspects buildings for compliance with fire prevention laws and ordinances. Work involves routine inspection of buildings in an assigned district to ensure compliance with city ordinances and the Building Code. Employees in this class may perform work under the general supervision of the Fire Chief, the Assistant Fire Chief and/or Building Inspector.
(c) 
Required knowledges, skills and abilities. Good knowledge of local fire prevention laws and ordinances; working knowledge of state and local building codes; working knowledge of modern fire fighting and prevention methods: good knowledge of the geography of the city; ability to recognize fire hazards; firmness; tact; good judgment; and good physical condition.
C. 
Duties and powers of the Fire Inspector.
(1) 
Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, ordinance or regulation, or except as herein otherwise provided, the Fire Inspector, in cooperation with building, electrical and other municipal authorities, shall administer and enforce all the provisions of laws, ordinances and regulations applicable to the construction, alteration, repair, removal and demolition of buildings and structures and the installation and use of materials and equipment therein and the location or relocation, use, occupancy and maintenance thereof.
(2) 
The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady, the Chief of the Fire Department or any Fire Inspector of the City of Schenectady may, at all reasonable hours, enter any building or premises for the purpose of making any inspection or investigation which, under the Fire Prevention Code, he or they may deem necessary to be made.
(3) 
The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady, the Chief of the Fire Department or any Fire Inspector of the City of Schenectady shall be permitted by the owner, lessee, manager or operator of any building or premise to enter and inspect their building or premise at the time and for the purpose stated in this section.
(4) 
It shall be the duty of the Fire Inspector to inspect, or cause to inspect, all buildings and premises as often as may be necessary for the purpose of ascertaining and causing to be corrected any conditions liable to cause fire, endanger life from fire, or any violation of the provisions or intent of this Code.
(5) 
The Fire Inspector, upon the complaint of any person, or whenever he or they shall deem it necessary, shall inspect any buildings and premises within their jurisdiction.
D. 
Orders to eliminate dangerous or hazardous conditions. Whenever any of the officers, members or inspectors of the Fire Prevention Bureau, as mentioned in Subsection E, shall find in any building or upon any premises dangerous or hazardous conditions or materials as follows, he or they shall order such dangerous conditions or materials to be removed or remedied in such manner as may be specified by the Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady and the Chief of the Fire Department.
(1) 
Dangerous or unlawful amounts of combustible or explosive or otherwise hazardous materials.
(2) 
Hazardous conditions arising from defective or improperly installed equipment for handling or using combustible or explosive or otherwise hazardous materials.
(3) 
Dangerous accumulations of rubbish, wastepaper, boxes, shavings or other highly combustible materials.
(4) 
Accumulations of dust or waste material in air-conditioning or ventilating systems or of grease in kitchen or other exhaust ducts or inadequate clearances to unprotected combustible material from hoods, grease extractors and ducts.
(5) 
Obstructions to or on fire escapes, designated access openings in exterior walls for Fire Department use, stairs, passageways, doors or windows liable to interfere with the operations of the Fire Department or egress of occupants in case of fire.
(6) 
Any building or other structure which, for want of repairs, lack of adequate exit facilities, automatic or other fire alarm apparatus or fire-extinguishing equipment, or by reason of age or dilapidated condition, or from any other cause, creates a hazardous condition.
E. 
Service of orders.
(1) 
The service of orders for the correction of violations of this Code shall be made upon the owner, occupant or other person responsible for the conditions, either by delivering a copy of same to such person or by delivering the same to and leaving it with any person in charge of the premises, or in case no such person is found upon premises, by affixing a copy thereof in a conspicuous place on the door to the entrance of the said premises. Whenever it may be necessary to serve such an order upon the owner or premises, such order may be served either by delivering to and leaving with said person a copy of said order or, if such owner is absent from the jurisdiction of the officer making the order, by sending such copy by certified or registered mail to the owner's last known post office address.
(2) 
If buildings or other premises are owned by one person and occupied by another under lease or otherwise, the orders issued in connection with the enforcing of this Code shall apply to the occupant therein, except where the rules or orders require the making of additions to or changes in the premises themselves, such as would immediately become real estate and be the property of the owner of the premises; in such cases the rules or orders shall affect the owner and not the occupant unless it is otherwise agreed between the owner and the occupant.
F. 
Fire records.
(1) 
The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady and the Chief of the Fire Department shall keep, in the office of the Fire Inspector, a record of all fires and of all the facts concerning the same, including statistics as to the extent of such fires and the damage caused thereby and whether such losses were covered by insurance and, if so, in what amount. Such record shall be made daily from the reports made by the Fire Department officers and inspectors. All such records shall be public.
(2) 
The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady and the Chief of the Fire Department shall annually submit to the Mayor a written report and summary of all business conducted by the Fire Inspector, including permits, orders and notices issued, inspections made and appeals or litigation pending.
G. 
Permits.
(1) 
A permit shall constitute permission to maintain, store or handle materials or to conduct processes, which produce conditions hazardous to life or property or to install equipment used in connection with such activities. Such permit does not take the place of any license required by law. It shall not be transferable, and any change in use or occupancy of premises shall require a new permit.
(2) 
Before a permit may be issued, the Chief of the Fire Department or Fire Inspector shall inspect and approve the receptacles, vehicles, buildings or storage places to be used. In cases where laws or regulations enforceable by departments other than the Fire Department are applicable, joint approval shall be obtained from all departments concerned.
(3) 
All applications for a permit required by this Code shall be made to the Bureau of Fire Prevention. Applications for permits shall be accompanied by such plans as required by the Bureau of Fire Prevention.
(4) 
Permits at all times shall be kept on the premises designated therein and shall at all times be subject to inspection by any officer of the Fire or Police Departments.
(5) 
One permit only shall be required by establishments dealing in or using two or more flammable, combustible or explosive materials to be kept in the establishment at any one time, but each of the materials shall be listed in the permit.
H. 
Revocation of permit. The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady, the Chief of the Fire Department or the Fire Inspector may revoke a permit or approval issued, if any violation of this Code is found upon inspection or in case there has been any false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact in the application or plans on which the permit or approval was based. Whenever the Building Inspector is required to issue a permit for any building, construction or the alteration, repair or replacement of any building, the Fire Inspector shall be notified of such procedures. The Fire Inspector shall properly check the construction plans so as to conform to the National Fire Prevention Code.
I. 
Plans.
(1) 
No building permit shall be issued until specifications and plans showing proper fire ratings and procedures have been submitted to the Fire Inspector by the contractor, architect or engineer and these plans have been checked to assure that the work will conform to the provisions of this division.
(2) 
If the plans indicate that any provisions of the Fire Prevention Code are not being complied with, they shall be rejected and no permit issued until they have been revised to comply with this article.
(3) 
If, in the course of the work, it is found necessary to make any change from the approved plans, specifications or work, revised plans and specifications shall be submitted to the Fire Inspector's office for review.
J. 
Correction of faulty conditions. Upon written notice from the Fire Inspector, the owner or lessee shall be required to correct, within the judgment of the Fire Inspector, any and all unsafe and fire hazard conditions which are likely to have immediate detrimental effect. He shall also correct, within a time specified by the Fire Inspector, other fire hazards which may, over a period of time, have a detrimental effect.
K. 
Administrative liability. No officer, agent or employee of the City of Schenectady shall render himself personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this article. Any suit brought against any officer, agent or employee of the City of Schenectady as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this article shall be defended by the Corporation Counsel of the City of Schenectady until the final determination of the proceedings thereon.
L. 
Penalties. Any person violating any provision of this Article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $150 or imprisonment not exceeding 150 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, or by penalty of not less than $5 or more than $500 to be recovered by the City of Schenectady, New York, in civil action. Each day that such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.

§ 156-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CORPORATION COUNSEL
The Attorney for the City of Schenectady.
MUNICIPALITY
The City of Schenectady.

§ 156-4 Modifications.

The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady and the Chief of the Fire Department shall have power to modify any of the provisions of the Fire Prevention Code upon application in writing by the owner or lessee, or his duly authorized agent, when there are practical difficulties in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the code, provided that the spirit of the code shall be observed, public safety secured and substantial justice done. The particulars of such modification when granted or allowed and the decision of the Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady and the Chief of the Fire Department thereon shall be entered upon the records of the Department and a signed copy shall be furnished the applicant.

§ 156-5 Appeals.

Whenever it is deemed that a violation does exist, the alleged violator may appeal from said notice of violation within 30 days from the date of said violation to the Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady, and whenever an application is refused or a permit which has been applied for is refused, or when it is claimed that the provisions of the code do not apply or that the true intent and meaning of the code have been misconstrued or wrongly interpreted, the applicant may appeal from said decision to the Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady within 30 days from the date of said decision.

§ 156-6 New materials, processes or occupancies which may require permits.

The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady and the Chief of the Fire Department of the City of Schenectady shall act as a committee to determine and specify, after giving affected persons an opportunity to be heard, any new materials, processes or occupancies which shall require permits, in addition to those now enumerated in said code. The Building Inspector of the City of Schenectady shall post such list in a conspicuous place in his office and distribute copies thereof to interested persons.
[Adopted 2-9-1970 by Ord. No. 15274[1]]
[1]:
Editor's Note: The provisions of this article are derived from Ch. 11, Art. II, Secs. 11-15 through 11-19, of the former Revised Ordinances, adopted 2-9-1970 by Ord. No. 15274.

§ 156-7 Open fires near combustible materials.

No person shall take or have any lighted candle or lamp in any stable or other place where hay, straw or other combustible material shall be kept unless the same is well secured in a lantern.

§ 156-7.1 Open fires.

[Added 4-3-1989 by Ord. No. 89-41]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to kindle, make or keep a fire within or outside of any building in the city unless in an approved fireproof enclosure or receptacle.
(1) 
Any lawful fire within or outside of any building shall continuously be under the care of a competent adult from the time it is kindled until it is extinguished.
(2) 
Any lawful fire outside of any building shall not be kindled within a porch attached to a building or close enough to a building or structure so as to cause fire or smoke damage to such building or structure.
(3) 
An approved fireproof enclosure or receptacle shall include a gas grill, fireplace, hibachi, Weber cooker or any device which has received the approval of the Fire Department.
B. 
In no event shall this section be construed to permit the burning of garbage or any material which would produce noxious odors.
C. 
The Chief of the Department of Fire or his or her representative shall have the authority in all cases to prohibit the use of any fire-burning receptacle within or outside of any building.
D. 
A violation of Subsection A by any person is an offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $75 for each offense thereafter.

§ 156-8 Fires in streets.

It shall be unlawful for any person to set fire to or burn any shavings, straw, hay, leaves, brush or other combustible material or to make a bonfire in any of the streets of the city.

§ 156-9 Fueling vehicles while motor running.

It shall be unlawful for any person to fill or assist in filling a gasoline tank or any other receptacle in a motor vehicle with gasoline or any other motive power or to allow or permit the same to be done, while the motor of said vehicle is running or in operation.

§ 156-10 Manufacture of varnish, similar compounds.

[Amended 6-2-1986 by L.L. No. 3-1986]
No varnish or other like compounds shall be manufactured, made or compounded within the city unless properly isolated to the satisfaction of the Chief of the Fire Department. It shall be the duty of the Chief of the Fire Department to report any manufactories designated in this section, to the Mayor.

§ 156-11 Storage of flammable liquids.

[Amended 6-2-1986 by L.L. No. 3-1986]
No crude or refined petroleum, kerosene, gasoline, naphtha or benzine, benzole, camphene or burning fluid or products or compounds containing any such substances shall be kept or stored in any building within the corporate limits of the city; nor shall such oils or fluids be kept in any tank or reservoir, either above or below ground; nor shall any oils so consigned be allowed to remain in said car or cars, car-tanks or tanks within the corporate limits of said city for a greater length of time than 48 hours, except that manufacturers using said fluids or oils in the production of their goods and not for sale may keep, for their requirements, in barrels in an isolated building or tanks, constructed especially with the view to safety and to be approved by the Mayor and Building Inspector, and further, that no oils, hereinbefore enumerated, below the standard of 100º F. or a fire test of 110º shall be kept or stored within the corporate limits of the city, by any dealer or any other person, in any building, storehouse, manufactory or other structure or enclosure or on any lot, yard, street, land or alley, except for manufacturing purposes as hereinbefore provided, in any greater quantity than five gallons, exclusive of such quantities of gasoline contained in the metal tank fastened and attached to and used in connection with any automobile for power purposes. Notwithstanding these provisions or others in this section, it shall be lawful to keep and store such oils and other products in larger quantities than herein provided in that portion of the city in which such storage is permitted by the Zoning Ordinance.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: See Ch. 264, Zoning.

§ 156-12 (Reserved) [1]

[1]:
Editor's Note: Former § 156-12, First responder user fee, added 2-1-1999 by Ord. No. 99-02, was repealed 11-22-1999 by Ord. No. 99-19.