California Fire Code Adopted by City | Staying Up-to-Date with State Regulations

City Council adopts California Fire Code with certain amendments to protect South Pasadena residents

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | SPFD Fire Chief Paul Riddle explains strategies for clearing hazardous brush in the Monterey Hills area

South Pasadena City Council members adopted the 2019 California Fire Code last week and enacted additional local amendments for the safety of residents.

Every three years the state adopts new codes, but also allows local governments to establish amendments after councils can make findings showing they are necessary. South Pasadena Fire Chief Paul Riddle pushed for additions because the city is in close proximity to major fault lines and subject to long periods of dry, hot and windy conditions.

“With the adoption of the fire code, cities are able to make certain amendments that have to be more stringent to meet specific needs of that particular city,” he explained. “In order to do that, you have to show those findings. We were able to increase the standard for the fire code. For example, we require Type A roofing (non-combustible roofing) especially in our hill area. We require sprinklers when homeowners build additions to their homes. We also prohibit fireworks, where the fire code might allow ‘Safe and Sane’. We know those are not safe for this community. We recommend people attend the 4th of July fireworks show at the high school.”

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Amendments to the fire code are designed to protect the public, insisted Riddle. One section of the code was revised to read, “High Fire Risk Area is defined as those properties located south of Monterey Road, extending to the city border, and west of Meridian Avenue, extending to the city border.”

The fire code adopted by the council will allow Los Angeles County officials to “inspect hazardous vegetation on privately owned lots in the city,” Riddle said, noting the South Pasadena Fire Department is among 87 of 88 cities in the county that participates in the inspection program.

“It’s very cost effective for property owners who allow the county to go ahead and do the inspection,” the fire chief explained, noting that if there is a charge it’s placed on the homeowner’s property tax bill. So it’s kind of a win-win for the city and the property owners. A quarter of our city is high hazard brush, so this is a way to mitigate this fuel to protect our citizens.”

Riddle said an inspection fee is $46 and climbs from there based on the amount of work to remove the hazardous vegetation. To avoid further costs, homeowners are encouraged to keep brush at a safe distance from their property.