Masscops.com
CRIMINAL LAW UPDATE

2004 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

TO: All Assistant District Attorneys and Investigators
All Assistant Attorneys General and Investigators

FROM: Michael Fabbri, Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex County
Sean Kealy, Legal Counsel, Joint Legislative Committee on Criminal Justice

Date: January 2005

Chapter 304 of the Acts of 2004. AN ACT RELATIVE TO FIRE SAFETY IN THE COMMONWEALTH (effective November 17, 2004). This act regulates several aspects of fire safety in businesses such as night clubs and bars. Section 6 of the statute adds four new sections to G.L. c. 148. The new section 34A states that any owner, occupant, lessee or other person having control or supervision of any assembly use group building, as defined by the state building code, and who causes or permits a dangerous condition to exist on the premises at anytime shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, or both. This law defines “dangerous condition” as: (1) any blocked or impeded ingress or egress; (2) the failure to maintain or the shutting off of any fire protection or fire warning system required by law; (3) the storage of any flammable or explosive without a properly issued permit in quantities in excess of allowable limits of any permit to store; (4) the use of any firework or pyrotechnic device, as defined by the board of fire prevention regulations, without a properly issued permit; or (5) exceeding the occupancy limit established by the local building inspector pursuant to G.L. c. 143. A conviction for a second or subsequent violation is punishable by a fine of not more than $25,000 or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or in a house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, or both such fine and imprisonment.
The new § 34B states that a person who wantonly or recklessly violates the state building code or state fire code and thereby causes serious bodily injury or death to any person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $25,000 or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or in a house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, or both. For purposes of this section, "serious bodily injury" shall mean bodily injury which results in a permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ, or a substantial risk of death.