Duties and Powers

The Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office is responsible for conducting fire investigations of all fires in the County where arson is suspected, the fire is undetermined by the fire department, and/or an injury or death has occurred. The Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office is the local enforcing agency for three municipalities and the County, including all provisions of the Maryland and Worcester County laws insofar as such powers and duties relate to fires, fire prevention, fire protection, fire inspections, fire investigations and explosive incidents.  The County Fire Marshal's Office is active in the area of fire prevention, designing programs in fire education that are geared towards all ages of County citizens. The Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office is also responsible for the response and mitigation of all bio terrorism incidents in Worcester County.

The County Fire Marshal, Chief Deputy Fire Marshal, Deputy Fire Marshals, and Fire Investigators/Inspectors have the authority to enforce and perform the duties required under COMAR 29.06.01 (Maryland State Fire Prevention Code) and Code of Public Local Laws for Worcester County PS 1-201 & PS 1-401 (Worcester County Fire Prevention Code).

The County Fire Marshal's are deputized by the Maryland State Fire Marshal under the Annotated Code of Maryland, Public Safety Article 6, §6-304 and have the authority of Title 6, §6-305, §6-307, §6,309, §6-310, §6-312, §6-317, §6,318, §6-319 and §6-320 and the authority of a police officer when investigating fire related crimes under the Code of Public Local Laws for Worcester County PS 1-301(d), (**) the Annotated Code of Maryland, Public Safety Article, Title 3, Subtitle 1, § 3-101,  & Title 3, Subtitle 2, § 3-201, Criminal Procedures Article, Title 2, Subtitle 2 § 2-208.4 and the Criminal Law Article, Title 4, Subtitle 2, § 4-201.

Fireworks permits are the responsibility of the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal. Explosive incidents are handled by the Ocean City Bomb Squad through a memorandum of understanding with Worcester County and the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.

Although the County Fire Marshal's Office works directly with each of the ten volunteer fire departments in the County and all law enforcement agencies, the County Fire Marshal reports directly to the Chief Administrating Officer and the seven elected County Commissioners.

Worcester County Fire Prevention Code appeals are handled by the Maryland State Fire Prevention Commission. The State Fire Prevention Commission has the power to promulgate, amend, and repeal regulations for the safeguarding of life and property from hazards of fire and explosion. These regulations comprise the State Fire Prevention Code. This Code is in accordance with widely recognized standards of good practice for fire prevention and fire protection and have the force and effect of law. The interpretation and application of the regulations will be the minimum requirements for the safeguarding of life and property.

** - Effective October 1, 2007