Bureau of Fire

The Williamsport Bureau of Fire provides Fire, Rescue, and EMS service to the City of Williamsport which also serves as the county seat for Lycoming County, PA.

The City is located in the north-central part of the state along the west branch of the Susquehanna River. The City encompasses over nine square miles and has a permanent population of approximately 30,000 residents as well as 10,000 college students.

The Williamsport Bureau of Fire was organized in 1874 as a career department with a staff of 33 sworn personnel and one Administrative Aide.

Bureau of Fire
  • Bureau of Fire
  • 440 Walnut Street
    Williamsport, PA 17701
  • (570) 327-1602
  • (570) 327-1534
  • M-F: 8:00am - 4:30pm
    (business hours)

Hard-Wired Smoke Detector Information

Where the basement ceiling is exposed the following is required:
  • A hardwired/battery back-up alarm is required to be installed in the basement area.
  • A hardwired/battery back-up alarm is required to be installed on the first floor.
  • Both the basement and first floor alarms ARE required to be interconnected.
  • The second floor is required to have a battery-operated smoke alarm.
    EXCEPTION: If the attic area is exposed (ceiling joist without flooring) then a hard-wired/battery-operated smoke alarm is required to be installed. This alarm is NOT required to be interconnected with the other smoke alarms.
  • ALL sleeping rooms are to have battery-operated smoke detectors.
  • A radio signal wireless system may be substituted for the second-floor unit and all bedrooms to provide interconnection throughout the unit.
  • Building Permits are REQUIRED for this work. All work MUST be inspected by a Third Party City Electrical Inspector.

As Per the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code

Section 704.2 Single or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained in Groups R-2, R-3, R-4, and in dwellings not regulated in Group R occupancies, regardless of occupant load at all of the following locations:
  • On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.
  • In each room used for sleeping purposes.
  • In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level. Single or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in other groups in accordance with the International Fire Code.
Section 704.3 Power Source In Group R occupancies and in dwellings not regulated as Group R occupancies, single-station smoke alarms shall receive their primary power from the building wiring provided that such wiring is served from a commercial source and shall be equipped with a battery backup. Smoke alarms shall emit a signal when the batteries are low. Exception: Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in buildings where no construction is taking place, buildings that are not served from a commercial power source, and in existing areas of buildings undergoing alterations or repairs that do not result in the removal of the interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space, or basement available which could provide access for building wiring without the removal of interior finishes. Section 704.4 Interconnection Where more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit in Group R-2, R-3, R-4 and in dwellings not regulated as Group R occupancies, the smoke alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed. Exceptions:
  • Interconnection is not required in buildings which are not undergoing alterations, repairs, or construction of any kind.
  • Smoke alarms in existing areas are not required to be interconnected where alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of the interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available which could provide access for interconnection without the removal of interior finishes.

Smoke alarms 10 years or older must be replaced. Smoke alarms must be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Smoke Detector Information

Smoke detectors are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke detectors give you an early warning so you can get outside quickly.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire
  • Roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke detectors or no working smoke detectors

Helpful Information

Install smoke detectors in every bedroom. They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Install smoke detectors in the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke detectors
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke detectors (required in rental properties). When one smoke detector sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke detectors at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working
  • Current alarms on the market employ different types of technology including multi-sensing, which could include smoke and carbon monoxide combined
  • Today’s smoke detectors will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms
  • A smoke detector should be on a ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke detectors away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers
  • Replace all lithium-ion smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Install new batteries immediately when the low battery warning alarm sounds or at least twice a year
  • Clean smoke detectors regularly by vacuuming them with a brush attachment

The Williamsport Bureau of Fire offers FREE smoke detectors to residents of the City of Williamsport.  The Bureau will come out and install these smoke detectors for you at NO CHARGE.

In order to obtain a FREE smoke detector, you can stop by Fire Headquarters at 440 Walnut Street, Williamsport, PA, and a Fire Fighter will review all of the information with you.  Smoke detectors are available to everyone, (please limit 1 per household).

Bonfire Permits

Bonfire Permit applications are available in the Bureau of Codes Office located at City Hall, Lower Level, 245 West Fourth Street. Violation of any rules and regulations set forth by the International Fire Code and the Williamsport Codified Ordinances could result in citations being issued and the fire being extinguished. Citation costs range from $75 dollars to $300 dollars.

Recreational Fire Information

Recreational fires are defined as small fires used for either recreational use or cooking.

Both types of fires are allowed in the City as long as the following guidelines are adhered to:

  • Charcoal or wood burning fires only.
  • Safeguards are in place and fire extinguishers are present.
  • Fire does not give off noxious or offensive fumes or odors.
  • Fire is at least 15 feet away from any combustible materials and the property line.
  • Fire pit is not more than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high.
  • No burning of household items.
    e. paper rubbish or garbage.

Manufactured fire pits or containers made of steel or brick are permitted for recreational uses.

If a complaint is filed and the Fire Department responds and the Firefighters deem the fire to be a public nuisance, then the fire shall be extinguished.

Fires discharging smoke that creates public discomfort for neighboring properties could be extinguished.

Residents are allowed to construct their own fire pits.  However, they are required to be inspected PRIOR to the first use.

Any device that is not pre-manufactured must be Pre-approved by the Fire Chief or Fire Marshal. Per Article 1513 of the Codified Ordinances.

Prior to the construction of any public bonfire, you must secure an approved Bonfire Permit.  Permits are required to be submitted at least 30 days in advance and must be approved by the Bureau of Fire.

What Type of Services Do You Provide

The Williamsport Bureau of Fire provides Life Safety assistance to everyone within the City of Williamsport and the surrounding areas when needed.

Listed below are some of the services that the Bureau of Fire provides daily:

  • Fire Prevention Education
  • Educational Information
  • Tours
  • Project Life Saver Program
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