Fire Marshal's Office

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, Lobby Hours: 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday

TTY 711

12099 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035

Richard A. Roatch,
Deputy Chief

Indoor Vehicle Display Guidelines


Gas- and Liquid-Fueled Vehicles


This page outlines the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (i.e., Fire Prevention Code or SFPC) fire safety requirements and prohibitions, as well as permit application and inspection scheduling information, related to the approved display of gas- and liquid-fueled vehicles, boats, and other motorcraft inside of existing buildings and structures located within Fairfax County and the towns of Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna.

*** Please Review This Entire Publication BEFORE TAKING ACTION ***

Questions regarding the content of this publication should be directed to the Fire Inspections

Branch at 703-246-4849 during regular office hours, Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



Vehicles are displayed inside buildings for a variety of reasons including advertisement marketing, promotional events, and decorative display. When displayed inside buildings and structures, gas- and liquid-fueled motor vehicles such as automobiles, boats, motorcycles, and motor homes, create a unique fire safety concern because of the types and amounts of fuel these vehicles can contain. Moreover, alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and hydrogen fuel cells (HYD), may pose unique hazards unlike those of common fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel. Regardless of the reason for the display or the type of fuel involved, gas- and liquid-fueled vehicles can be potentially hazardous to the occupants of a building or structure if not displayed in a safe and approved manner.

PERMIT REQUIRED. An operational permit (i.e., Fire Prevention Code Permit) is required to display gas- and liquid-fueled vehicles, boats, and other motorcraft inside existing buildings or structures. This may include, but is not limited to, covered mall buildings, retail stores, tents, and places of assembly. This requirement does not apply to buildings and structures designed, built, and approved by the building official for such a purpose (e.g., parking garages, automobile repair shops, and automobile dealer showrooms). The fee for this permit is $150.

To make application for a Fire Prevention Code Permit (FPCP), complete the permit application and return it to the address listed at the top of the application along with a check or money order to the County of Fairfax.

INSPECTION REQUIRED. A site inspection must be conducted by the Fire Marshal before an indoor vehicle display FPCP will be issued. The inspection must be scheduled at least one business day prior to the start of the vehicle display. Please call the Fire Inspections Branch, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., at 703-246-4849 to schedule an inspection.



Liquid- or gas-fueled vehicles, boats or motorcraft shall not be located indoors except as follows:

  • Batteries shall be disconnected. Fuel-electric hybrid vehicles shall be safeguarded to prevent operation of the vehicle. (314.2 #1)
  • Fuel tanks shall contain a minimal amount of fuel not exceeding one-quarter (1/4) tank or 5 gallons (19 L), whichever is least. Tanks containing a gas or liquefied-gas fuel should have a means of determining the actual quantity of fuel such as a gauge or level. (314.2 #2)
  • All vehicle fuel tanks and fill openings shall be closed and sealed in an approved manner to prevent tampering and the potential escape of fuel vapors. (314.2 #3)
  • Fueling or de-fueling of vehicles shall be prohibited inside the building. (314.2 #4)
  • Operation and/or repair of vehicles shall be prohibited inside the building. (313.1)
  • A minimum of one 2A:20B:C fire extinguisher shall be provided within 50 feet of any vehicle on display. (906.1)
  • The permit shall be conspicuously displayed on the vehicle at all times. (108.3.5)



  • Storage, operation, or repair of fueled equipment including but not limited to motorcycles, mopeds, lawn-care equipment, and portable cooking equipment is prohibited inside. (313.1)        
    • Exceptions:

      •  Buildings or rooms constructed for such use in accordance with the Building Code.
      • Vehicle displays approved and permitted by the Fire Marshal.
      • Storage of equipment utilized for maintenance purposes is allowed in approved locations when the aggregate fuel capacity of the stored equipment does not exceed 10 gallons and the building is equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system.
  • Vehicles powered by flammable liquids, Class II combustible liquids, or compressed flammable gases shall not be stored within the living space of residential buildings, including one- and two-family dwellings such as houses and townhouses, multi-family dwellings such as apartment-style buildings, and transient occupancies such as motels and hotels. (313.2)
  • No combustible goods, merchandise, or materials shall be displayed or stored in a roofed-over mall unless approved by the Fire Marshal. This includes vehicle displays. (408.12)
  • Vehicle displays placed so as to obstruct any exterior door or required fire department access door shall be prohibited unless approved by the Fire Marshal. (504.2)
  • The display of vehicles in main exit access aisles, corridors, covered malls, or within 5 feet of entrances to exits and exterior exit doors is prohibited when, in the opinion of the Fire Marshal, a fire involving the vehicle would rapidly prevent or obstruct egress from the building or area. Vehicles shall not be displayed in exits or exit enclosures. (314.3 & 315.3.2)
  • Vehicles shall not be displayed under the non-sprinklered eaves, canopies, projections, or overhangs of buildings required to be protected by automatic sprinklers. (315.4.1)
Fairfax Virtual Assistant