MGL Chapter 148 Section 26G 1/2
Chapter 304 Of The Acts Of 2004
"An Act Relative To Fire Safety In The Commonwealth"
As a result of the horrific Station Nightclub fire that occurred in West Warwick, Rhode Island on February 20, 2003, the Massachusetts Legislature has passed, and the Governor has signed into law, Chapter 304 of the Acts of 2004 - "An Act Relative To Fire Safety In The Commonwealth". With 100 dead and almost 200 injured, it was the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.
This new law requires and gives statutory authority to the Head of the Fire Department to enforce the installation of automatic sprinklers and other fire protection systems in certain places of public assembly (a) in existence as of the effective date the law was enacted (November 15, 2004) or (b) buildings or structures for which an approved building permit was issued before December 1, 2004.
In brief, every building or structure, or portions thereof, of a public assembly with a capacity of 100 persons or more, that is designed or used for occupancy as a nightclub, dance hall, discotheque, bar, or for similar entertainment purposes shall be protected throughout with an adequate system of automatic sprinklers by November 15, 2007. Sprinkler plans and specifications shall be submitted to the Head of the Fire Department and local building inspector no later than May 15, 2006.
There are provisions in the law that provide for time extensions, financial incentives, and an appeals process. The law also has specific exemptions for certain existing establishments.
If you are a club owner, manager, licensee, or the owner of a property that includes any bars, nightclubs, dance halls, restaurants, churches, private clubs, place of public assembly in the City of Cambridge, it is strongly recommended that you read the full text of the law and the additional information that is being provided by the Department of Fire Services and the Cambridge Fire Department.
A full copy of the law and the additional information can be downloaded from the Department of Fire Services web site at www.mass.gov/dfs