Fellsmere becomes first city to take on own fire inspections

FELLSMERE – The City of Fellsmere will begin providing fire inspections for building permits Friday after the city council voted unanimously to create a Fire Marshal position.

With the approval of the position, Fellsmere becomes the first municipality in the county to handle fire inspections on its own, taking the job away from Indian River County officials.

Emergency Services Director John King, who had been at a previous council meeting, was not in attendance at the Thursday meeting when the council voted. King had previously voiced concerns about which agency would be responsible for inspections and worried about duplicating services.King, City Manager Jason Nunemaker and their respective attorneys met the week before to discuss the issue. Both representatives have said the meeting went well.

Nunemaker said that he sent a letter to County Administrator Joe Baird after the meeting extending an offer to work out an interlocal agreement between the county and city that would spell out what Fellsmere’s fire marshal would be responsible for.

He told the council Thursday that he has not yet heard from Baird or his staff.

The issue might go before the Board of County Commissioners but when that might be is not known.

In the meantime, the city can get started performing fire inspections as part of the building permit process.

Nunemaker had told the Fellsmere City Council at a previous meeting that he had gotten frustrated with the lag time from the county’s inspectors, noting that it takes too long for the inspections to be done in order for the city to issue a certificate of occupancy to the applicant.

King has told VeroNews.com that he does not believe that Fellsmere would set a precedent for the other municipalities, including Vero Beach and Sebastian, should the city decide to create its own fire marshal because those “services are already being provided.”

The city’s building official, Tom Forbes, is already licensed to perform fire inspections by the State of Florida, according to Nunemaker. Forbes will be the one to inspect buildings for being in compliance with fire codes prior to issuing the certificates of occupancy.

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