PERALTA — Seeking to establish its first official ordinance, the Peralta Volunteer Fire Department presented a draft fire ordinance to the Peralta Town Council at its Feb. 28 meeting.
“We need an ordinance to adopt a fire code, to carry out inspections, and to be able to get things we need from the fire marshal,” said Peralta Town Clerk Kori Taylor.
The draft ordinance states the chief of the fire department shall be appointed by the mayor. The name of the person selected shall be submitted to the town council for recommendation by the mayor for council approval.
When it comes to personnel, the draft states a roster of firefighters shall be maintained by the fire chief, chosen among applicants of able-bodied citizens. Property owners whose business activities are within the boundaries of the town limits will be given preference for membership.
The draft ordinance also states the fire chief is directed and authorized to make inspections of businesses to determine whether fire hazards are minimized, all proper precautions for emergency exit have been taken and whether the businesses are generally being conducted with a maximum amount of safety to the public.
According to the document, the town shall administratively adopt a fee schedule for inspections. A fee schedule was not presented to the council during the Feb. 28 meeting.
It further states the fire inspector may, during reasonable hours, enter any building or go upon any premises in the discharge of their official duties for the purpose of testing any installation within Peralta.
With regard to offenses and penalties, the draft ordinance says any person who violates the fire code or fails to call for an inspection shall be subject to a fine of $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or to both.
The language in the proposed ordinance was taken from the 2021 international fire code created by the International Code Council.
Peralta Fire Chief Jeremy Fiedler said the state adopted the 2021 code because it specifically addresses indoor marijuana grow setups and the potential fire hazards that could accompany them.
“If someone is applying to do wax or oil extraction, there’s a lot of different things that go along with that, not only chemicals but interior lighting. Previous versions of the fire code didn’t really address it,” Fiedler said. “It was very vague so it left it up to the fire marshal to have an opinion. I rather it just be spelled out black and white.”
When it comes to fireworks and open burning, there are existing ordinances that can be found on Peralta’s website at townofperalta.org. The proposed fire department ordinance can also be found on the town’s website.
Taylor said the council will consider the ordinance at the next town council meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 28, at Peralta Town Hall on Molina Road. This will be a public hearing, and members of the community can give feedback and comments on the proposed ordinance.
Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.