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Bob Ferguson

AGO 1951 No. 119 - Sep 5 1951
Attorney General Smith Troy


A fire protection district has no authority to enact a fire code and provide that a violation thereof shall constitute a misdemeanor.

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                                                               September 5, 1951

Honorable Hugh H. Evans
Prosecuting Attorney
Spokane County
Spokane, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 119

Attention:  John E. Calbom

Dear Sir:

            You have asked if a fire protection district may enact a fire code and provide that violations shall constitute misdemeanors.

            We conclude not.


            Rem. Rev. Stat. § 5654-132, 1940 Supp., sets out the general powers of the board of commissioners of a fire protection district.  It reads in part as follows:

            "* * * The board shall have the power and it shall be its duty to adopt a seal of the district, to manage and conduct the business affairs of the district, to make and execute all necessary contracts, to employ any necessary service and to establish and promulgate reasonable rules and regulations for the government of the district and for the performance of its functions and generally to perform all such acts as may be necessary fully to carry out the objects of the creation of the district."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            Rem. Rev. Stat. § 5654-101, 1947 Supp., states the objects of fire protection districts:

            "Fire‑Protection Districts for the elimination of fire hazards and for the protection of life and property in territories outside of incorporated cities and towns and in territories including one or more cities of the fourth class are hereby authorized to be established as in this act provided."

            We are of the opinion that the above‑quoted statutes neither directly nor indirectly bespeak any legislative intent to delegate to a fire protection district authority to enact a fire code and provide that violations shall constitute misdemeanors.  See 37 Am.Jur., Municipal Corporations, section 280.  Compare these statutes with Rem. Rev. Stat. § 4056, 1947 Supp., which reads in part:

            "The several Boards of County Commissioners are authorized and required:  * * *

            "7. To make and enforce, by appropriate resolutions or ordinances, all such police and sanitary regulations as are not in conflict with state law,and provide that any violation of such regulations, ordinances, or resolutions shall constitute a misdemeanor:  * * *" (Emphasis supplied)

            County Commissioners, however, may enact a fire code and make violations thereof misdemeanors.  See Rem. Rev. Stats. § 4056, supra, and § 4077-10, 1947 Supp.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General