To: Head of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: September 1, 1999
Re: MGL 148 S 26A ½ Appeals Process

The Fire Safety Commission met on July 22, 1999 to discuss the appeals process of MGL 148 S 26A ½. This section of MGL requires the installation of automatic sprinklers throughout all buildings greater than 70 ft. in height and constructed prior to January 1, 1975. According to MGL 148, it is the responsibility of the head of the fire department to enforce this section of the law. The Fire Safety Commission has decided that only new appeals would be heard from this time forward; unless otherwise ordered by a court of law.

If the head of a fire department already has an order in place, an appeal hearing has taken place and the owner of that location has not yet complied with the order, then the head of the fire department should take out a court complaint against the property owner. Further the Fire Safety Commission will strictly enforce the time limit for an appeal of an order in the future. The Fire Safety Commission will no longer entertain the option of an appeal hearing for a second time. In court the judge can determine the appropriate action to be taken against the property owner. The judge can order or extend the time frame for completion. Also, if the judge orders the Fire Safety Commission to hear the case as an appeal again, then and only then, the Fire Safety Commission will entertain a second appeal. This will be the only way that the Fire Safety Commission will hear a case for a second time.

If you have further questions please contact the Code Compliance Office of the State Fire Marshal at 978-567-3300 or contact the Automatic Sprinkler Appeals Board at 978-567-3157.