The Fairfax County Fire Marshal complies with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizens of the Commonwealth during the regular office hours of the custodian of such records. Access to such records shall not be denied to citizens of the Commonwealth, representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth, and representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth. (Code of Virginia §2.2-3704)
Rights of the Requester. Any Virginia citizen may request to look at County Fire Marshal records, or to request copies of them in any medium the Fire Marshal uses. This includes e-mail. You do not have to cite the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) when you make a request, and the request does not have to be in writing. However, you may want to write down your request anyway, as this will help both you and the Revenue & Records Branch of the Office of the Fire Marshal keep track of the request. It is preferred the requestor use the
Responsibilities of the Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal is required to take all necessary precautions for the preservation and safekeeping of records maintained, and will make reasonable efforts to reach an agreement over FOIA requests. When the Fire Marshal receives a FOIA request, the Revenue & Records Branch has five days to provide the requested records by either providing the entire record, withholding the entire record, giving you part of the record, or letting you know that it will take another seven days to fulfill the request. If any part of the record is withheld, the Fire Marshal must inform you in writing of exactly which FOIA exemption or other law justifies the denial. The Fire Marshal is not compelled to create a new record where one does not already exist. (Code of Virginia §2.2-3704)
Designated Point of Contact. All records requests submitted to the County Fire Marshal are administered by the Revenue and Records Branch in cooperation with other branches or sections of the Fire Marshal's Office, as well as the County Attorney's Office as needed. The types of records typically in the custody of the Fire Marshal's Office include but are not limited to the following:
- Fire & Building Inspection Reports
- Notices of Violation
- Plans & Shop Drawings
- Hazardous Materials Storage Tank Records
- Hazardous Materials & Environmental Assessments
- Fire Investigation Reports
Fire Investigation Reports. Records routinely withheld by the Fire Marshal include certain fire investigation reports. Where the origin and cause of a fire event is classified as incendiary, under investigation, or undetermined, only the fire investigation report cover sheet will be released. Active criminal fire investigation reports will not be released.
Making a FOIA Request. Complete a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Records Request Application and submit the completed form to the Revenue & Records Branch of the Fire Marshal's Office. You may submit your request in person, by fax, or by mail to the following address:
Fairfax County Fire Marshal's Office
ATTN: FOIA Requests
12099 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
Records Request Fees. A public body is permitted to make reasonable charges not to exceed the actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. Example of charges may include staff research time, postage, and a per page copying fee of .13 cents (8 ½ x 11) and .13 cents (8 ½ x 14). Copying fees for large oversized plans are outsourced and exact fees are passed onto the requestor. The requestor may be required to make a deposit if the estimate is over $200. Fees are non-refundable. For any check returned for non-sufficient funds (NSF), a $50 fee will be charged.
Questions related to obtaining information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) should be directed to the Revenue & Records Branch at 703-246-4803.