Title 23
Health and Safety

Chapter 28.2
Office of State Fire Marshal

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-28.2-20.1

§ 23-28.2-20.1. Notices of violation.

(a) The fire marshal and persons designated specifically in writing by the fire marshal shall have the power to issue notices of violation as herein provided for, and the powers herein established shall be in addition to other powers of inspection and enforcement of the Fire Safety Code provided for in this title. The fire marshal or authorized designee of the fire marshal shall have the power to give notice of an alleged violation of law to the person responsible therefor whenever the fire marshal or authorized designee determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is a violation of any provision of law within his or her jurisdiction or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to authority granted to him or her and/or the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review, unless other notice and hearing procedure is specifically provided by that law. Nothing in this chapter shall limit the authority of the attorney general to prosecute offenders as required by law.

(b) The notice shall provide for the time the alleged violation shall be remedied, and shall inform the person to whom it is directed that a written request for a hearing on the alleged violation may be filed with the fire safety code board of appeal and review within thirty (30) days after service of the notice. The notice will be deemed properly served upon a person if a copy thereof is served him or her personally, by the authority having jurisdiction or any other person having authority to serve process, or sent by registered or certified mail to his or her last known address, or if he or she is served with notice by any other method of service now or hereafter authorized in a civil action under the laws of this state. If no written request for a hearing is made to the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review within thirty (30) days of the service of notice, the notice shall automatically become a compliance order. The authority issuing the notice of violation shall have the power to extend in writing the time in which the alleged violation shall be remedied if the authority shall find, to the authority’s satisfaction, that a good faith effort is being made to remedy the violation, and that the extension of time to remedy the violation will not result in a significant threat to life safety.

(c) If a person upon whom a notice of violation has been served under the provisions of this section or if a person aggrieved by any such notice of violation requests a hearing before the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review within thirty (30) days of the service of notice of violation, the Board shall set a time and place for the hearing, and shall give the person requesting that hearing notice as outlined in § 23-28.3-5 of this title. After the hearing, the Board may make findings of fact and shall sustain, modify, or withdraw the notice of violation. If the Board sustains or modifies the notice, that decision shall be deemed a compliance order and shall be served upon the person responsible in any manner provided for the service of the notice in this section.

(d) The compliance order shall state a time within which the violation shall be remedied, and the original time specified in the notice of violation shall be extended to the time set in the order.

(e) Whenever a compliance order has become effective, whether automatically where no hearing has been requested, or upon decision following a hearing, the fire marshal may institute injunction proceedings in the district court of the state for enforcement of the compliance order and for appropriate temporary relief, and in that proceeding the correctness of a compliance order shall be presumed and the person attacking the order shall bear the burden of proving error in the compliance order. The remedy provided for in this section shall be cumulative and not exclusive and shall be in addition to remedies relating to the removal or abatement of nuisances or any other remedies provided by law. The district court shall have full equity power to hear and address these matters.

(f) Any party aggrieved by a final judgment of the district court may, within thirty (30) days from the date of entry of such judgment, petition the supreme court for a writ of certiorari to review any questions of law. The petition shall set forth the errors claimed. Upon the filing of the petition with the clerk of the supreme court, the supreme court may, if it sees fit, issue its writ of certiorari.

History of Section.
P.L. 2003, ch. 106, § 5; P.L. 2003, ch. 107, § 5; P.L. 2004, ch. 220, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 225, § 3; P.L. 2005, ch. 151, § 4; P.L. 2005, ch. 155, § 4; P.L. 2012, ch. 415, § 21.