BARSTOW The Barstow Fire Protection District is working with the city to help reduce confusion over fire protection standards.

Barstow Fire Department Chief Darrell Jauss said that the city and the Barstow Fire Protection District currently have a discrepancy between their fire protection codes. Jauss said contractors have had building plans approved by the city, only to later have the district alert them to changes that need to be made to follow the district's rules. The fire district's code covers the city of Barstow and several outlying areas.

Jauss said that in an effort to bring the city's and district's fire codes into line the Barstow Fire Protection District board of directors plans on amending the district's ordinance 18, which strengthened the fire code in 2007. Jauss said the changes included items such as stronger fire sprinkler regulations and rules that increased fire escape sizes and reduced maximum occupancy.

The district held a public hearing on the proposed amendment on Thursday night. There was no comment, from anyone written or in person, regarding the amendment.

The amendment is necessary because the ordinance did not include a facts and findings section to explain the reason behind the increased protections, according to city spokesman John Rader. The city cannot adopt the ordinance without the explanation, Rader said. Jauss said the proposed amendment reasons that the high heat, remote location and low staffing levels of the Barstow Fire Department necessitate the increased protections.

Jauss said although the city isn't enforcing the district's enhanced code, anyone building in the fire district has to get their plans approved by the fire district as well as the city. The new amendment will simply allow the city and fire department to be on the same page and better communicate with contractors, according to Jauss.

Jauss said the city and fire district have been working together since they realized the discrepancy during recent meetings between the two groups. The district will hold a second public hearing and then vote on the issue during its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the City Council chambers at 220 East Mountain View Street.

Rader said the new ordinance will go to the City Council for a vote once the district approves the amendment. The City Council will most likely vote on the ordinance during its Oct. 5 meeting.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or dheldreth@desertdispatch.com