Watertown Council Debates Fire Code Inspections

Watertown Council Debates Fire Code Inspections

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Watertown city officials are trying to find the best way to handle fire code inspections.

That was a topic of discussion during Tuesday night's city council work session.

Currently, two firefighters are certified to perform building inspections. They report any fire code violations to city code enforcement. 

This is a part of a union agreement made two decades ago. 

The rest of the department can only do what's called pre-planning inspections, which are done on new buildings. 

However, council member Cody Horbacz thinks the entire fire department should be able to do inspections when firefighters aren't out on a call.

"They could be out doing fire inspections and enforcing fire code -- it just makes sense," he said. "They live and breathe firefighting. If anybody is going to understand it, it's a firefighter." 

Mayor Joe Butler says he'd prefer taking the two firefighters out of that position and having civilians be building safety inspectors. 

City Attorney Robert Slye says this could save the city about $60,000 a year.

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