News

Fire Marshal Services to Transition to County

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Town of Hillsborough will soon transition away from having its own Fire Marshal’s Office to contracting with the Orange County Fire Marshal Division for services.

The change, which will occur July 1, will lower the cost of fire code enforcement for the town and improve efficiency. It will also increase communication with Orange County Building Inspections, with which the town also contracts. The county has a larger staff and will provide better availability for community members and business owners to speak with a fire marshal in a timely manner.

Hillsborough Fire Marshal Jerry Wagner retired Sept. 30, and the town’s part-time fire inspector, David Cates, will become an employee of the Orange County Fire Marshal Division.

Changes to note

Business owners will receive inspections from the county on the same schedule they have established with the town. However, any businesses that have not previously received a fire inspection will receive an initial inspection from the county and then be put on a standardized fire inspection schedule. Permit and inspection information will be available online at the county’s permitting information portal.

Fees will now be set by the county’s fee schedule, which may be higher in some instances. For example, an initial inspection of a 2,000-square-foot building costs $40 under the Fiscal Year 2021 town fee schedule. It will cost $50 under the county fee schedule. Be sure to reference the Fiscal Year 2022 Fee Schedule beginning July 1. The fee schedule is available on the Orange County Fire Marshal Division webpage under the Inspection & Permit Information section.

The town has revised its Code of Ordinances to remove additional fire protection regulations beyond the state building code and to align more closely with Orange County fire code provisions. The revisions include removing regulations that required automatic sprinklers in buildings 3,600 square feet and larger. Buildings 10,000 square feet and larger still require automatic sprinklers.

The Orange County Fire Marshal Division offices are located at 510 Meadowlands Drive, and the division can be contacted by calling Orange County Assistant Fire Marshal Elizabeth Farnan at 919-537-2149 (mobile) or 919-245-6153 (office) or emailing her at efarnan@orangecountync.gov.