General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 148 Fire Prevention - Section 5 Investigation of premises and alleys as to fire hazards; remedy of conditions; expenses; penalty

Section 5. The marshal, the head of the fire department or any person to whom the marshal or the head of the fire department may delegate his authority in writing may, and upon complaint of a person having an interest in any building or premises or property adjacent thereto, shall, at any reasonable hour, enter into buildings and upon premises, which term for the purposes of the remainder of this section shall include alleys adjacent thereto, within their jurisdiction and make an investigation as to the existence of conditions likely to cause fire. They shall, in writing, order such conditions to be remedied, and whenever such officers or persons find in any building or upon any premises any accumulation of combustible rubbish including, but not limited to, waste paper, rags, cardboard, string, packing material, sawdust, shavings, sticks, waste leather or rubber, broken boxes or barrels or any other refuse or useable materials that is or may become dangerous as a fire menace or as an obstacle to easy ingress into or egress from such buildings or premises, they shall, in writing, order the same to be removed or such conditions to be remedied. Notice of such order shall be served upon the owner, occupant or his authorized agent by a member of the fire or police department. If said order is not complied with within twenty-four hours, the person making such order, or any person designated by him, may enter into such building or upon such premises and remove such refuse or any useable materials or abate such conditions at the expense of such owner or occupant. Any expense so incurred by or on behalf of the commonwealth or of any city or town, shall be a debt due the commonwealth or the city or town, as the case may be, upon completion of such removal or abatement and the rendering of an account therefor to the owner. The provisions of the second paragraph of section three A of chapter one hundred and thirty-nine, relative to liens for such debt and the collection of the claims for such debt, shall apply to any debt referred to in this section, except that the marshal or the head of the fire department shall act hereunder in place of the mayor or board of selectmen. In the case of debts due the commonwealth, the collector of taxes shall pay over to the treasurer of the commonwealth the amounts collected by him. Any such owner or occupant who fails or refuses to comply with said order shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars for each consecutive forty-eight hours during which such failure or refusal to comply continues.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015