What We Do
The State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) supports local fire and law enforcement authorities, other agencies and the general public with:
- Fire/arson investigation training for local public-safety personnel.
- Fire investigations and fire death investigations.
- Materials, training and assistance to implement fire-safety education programs.
- Fire inspections in public and charter schools, hotels/motels and health care facilities.
- Development and adoption of state fire code.
The SFMD collects and maintains fire incident data and uses it to strengthen our state fire code, our code enforcement and our fire safety education programs.
To learn more about what the SFMD does across Minnesota, read our 2016 annual report. You can also read our 2015 annual report online. Read the division's strategic plan to learn more about how the SFMD plans to improve over the next three to five years.
The mission of the State Fire Marshal Division is to protect lives and property by fostering a fire-safe environment through investigation, enforcement, regulation, data collection and public education.
Related Minnesota Statute
More information about the State Fire Marshal Division can be found in chapter 299F of Minnesota state statute.
Bruce West, state fire marshal
West is a 35-year Minnesota fire service veteran. He started his career as a paid on-call firefighter with
the Anoka-Champlin Fire Department.
West was a full-time firefighter for Anoka-Champlin before he was appointed Elk River fire chief in October 1994, a position he held for 15 years.
West was most recently the executive director of the Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education. Prior to becoming MBFTE executive director, West worked at DPS’ Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) division as the training/liaison manager for the Minnesota Joint Analysis Center. West also served as HSEM’s statewide fire liaison.
West also served on the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors and was its president in 2006-07.
Jim Smith, chief deputy
Jim Smith was appointed chief deputy state fire marshal in December 2014. Prior to joining the State
Fire Marshal Division, he was assistant chief of operations of the Saint Paul Fire Department.
Smith has been in the fire service for 34 years. He started his career with the New Hope and Maple Grove fire departments. He became a nationally registered paramedic in 1987 and worked for North Memorial Ambulance for six years.
Smith continued his firefighting/paramedic career with the Edina Fire Department and then transferring over to the Saint Paul Fire Department in 1992. During his 22 ½ years with SPFD, Jim worked as a firefighter/paramedic, training officer, fire captain, rescue squad/hazardous materials captain, district chief and assistant chief.
In 2008, he was the special operations chief for the Republican National Convention. Smith also served on Minnesota Task Force-1 as a task force leader and sat on the Program Management Group.
The position of State Fire Marshal was created by the Minnesota State Legislature in 1905. In 1913, the Fire Marshal Department was created and in 1970, the State Fire Marshal Division became part of the newly created Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Since that time, five State Fire Marshals have headed the division: Gene Weber (1970-72), Wes Werner (1972-86), Tom Brace (1987-2003), Jerry Rosendahl (2003-2013) and Bruce West (2013-present).
Minnesota has had a state fire code, enforced by the State Fire Marshal, since 1975. For the first 28 years, the state fire code was known as the Minnesota Uniform Fire Code. Since 2003, it has been called the Minnesota State Fire Code.
The State Fire Marshal Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has a staff of 50, most of whom work in the downtown St. Paul headquarters, including the fire marshal, chief deputy, public educator, IT analyst, two fire-code specialists, two supervisors and seven support staff.
The fire/arson investigation team includes one chief and 10 investigators assigned to regions around the state, where they work with local authorities to determine cause and origin on an average of 450 fires per year.
Eleven inspectors and a supervisor comprise the inspection team that covers all daycare facilities, hotels, motels, resorts and public K-12 schools across the state. Another team of eight inspectors and one supervisor inspect Minnesota health care facilities.
Three sprinkler safety specialists approve fire sprinkler plans and inspect all newly- installed systems.
The State Fire Marshal Division works closely with the:
Here is the SFMD's organizational chart