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  • Acts
  • 1997
  • Chapter 51 AN ACT RELATIVE TO FIRE DEPARTMENTS AND FIRE DISTRICTS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Section 9 of chapter 48 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "town", in line 1, the following words:- or his designee.

SECTION 2. Section 10 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 4, the word "male".

SECTION 3. Section 13 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the seventh sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 plus the cost of suppression or by imprisonment for not more than one month or both.

SECTION 4. Section 15 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 4 and 5, the words "a natural resource officer and a deputy natural resource" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- an environmental police officer or deputy environmental police.

SECTION 5. Section 19 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "assistant,", in line 1, the following words:- the state fire warden.

SECTION 6. Said chapter 48 is hereby further amended by striking out section 20, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 20. Violation of any provision of sections 16 to 18, inclusive, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $2,500.

SECTION 7. Said chapter 48 is hereby further amended by striking out section 21, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 21. Whoever operates in or adjacent to forest or grasslands any equipment or vehicle which burns any spark producing material as fuel, unless the same is provided with a suitable spark arrester approved by the United States Department of Forestry, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $100 and the cost of suppression if such operation results in a response from a fire department.

SECTION 8. Section 22 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "assistants", in line 1, the following words:- or the state fire warden.

SECTION 9. Section 24 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the third sentence.

SECTION 10. Section 26 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 3, the words "ten dollars" and inserting in place thereof the following figures:- $100.

SECTION 11. Said chapter 48 is hereby further amended by striking out section 28C, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 28C. When, in the judgment of the director of the division of forests and parks, the forest fire hazard is such as to require the use of forest fire patrols in any town, all forest lands therein shall be closed to all persons except the owners thereof and the tenants of such owners or to the authorized agents of such owners and tenants and the director shall use all reasonable means to notify all persons of such closing. While such fire hazard exists, a duly authorized forest warden, deputy forest warden, chief fire warden and his assistants, environmental police officer or deputy environmental police officer may arrest without a warrant any person found within the forest lands of another without authorization from the owner or tenant thereof or without other legal authority if such person refuses to leave such forest lands upon request and such person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100.

SECTION 12. Sections 29 to 35, inclusive, of chapter 48 of the General Laws are hereby repealed.

SECTION 13. Section 38 of chapter 48 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.

SECTION 14. Section 40 of said chapter 48, as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 6, the words "twenty nor more than fifty dollars" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- $50 nor more than $100.

SECTION 15. Section 47 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- The engineers, in the extinguishment of fires, shall exercise the powers of firewards and, in the nomination and appointment of such firefighters as necessary therefor, shall exercise the powers and perform the duties of selectmen.

SECTION 16. Section 48 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 1 and 2, the words "The engine, hose and hook and ladder men and protective companies" and inserting in place thereof the following word:- Firefighters.

SECTION 17. Section 50 of chapter 48 of the General Laws is hereby repealed.

SECTION 18. Said chapter 48 is hereby further amended by striking out section 51A, as appearing in the 1996 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 51A. Each city, town or district shall equip any fire apparatus operated by it with at least three self-contained breathing apparatus, so-called. Such breathing apparatus shall contain a minimum of 30 minutes of air or oxygen and shall be equipped with an audible alarm to indicate to the wearer thereof and to any other person in the area that there is a specific designated minimum supply of air or oxygen still present and that such wearer should leave a contaminated area. Any such breathing apparatus shall, in addition to the above, meet the requirements of the standards set up by the National Fire Protection Association for self-contained breathing apparatus. The provisions of this section shall not apply to fire apparatus designed solely for extinguishing woods or brush fires.

SECTION 19. Said chapter 48 is hereby further amended by striking out section 52, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 52. The board of engineers shall have the care and superintendence of fire apparatus and related equipment, buildings, fixtures, and equipment and all pumps, reservoirs for water and apparatus owned by the town and used for extinguishing fires and shall cause the same to be kept in repair or renewed and shall make necessary alterations therein and additions thereto at an expense not exceeding $1,000 in any one year unless the town has authorized a larger appropriation.

SECTION 20. Section 53 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 9, the words "twenty dollars" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- $200.

SECTION 21. Section 54 of said chapter 48, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 3, the words "twenty dollars" and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- $200.

SECTION 22. Said chapter 48 is hereby further amended by striking out section 65, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 65. The chief engineer and assistant engineers shall be chosen for terms not exceeding three years; provided, however, that the district, at any meeting held in accordance with section 66, may vote to authorize the prudential committee to appoint the chief engineer and assistant engineers on merit for an indefinite period of time. A chief engineer or assistant engineer may be removed for cause at any time after a hearing by such prudential committee. Fire districts may accept the provisions of section 42.

Approved July 18, 1997.