Seattle Fire Marshal Fire Code Violation Cards, 1919-1968

Overview of the Collection

Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept.
Seattle Fire Marshal Fire Code Violation Cards
1919-1968 (inclusive)
0.5 cubic foot, (2 boxes)
Collection Number
Index cards recording fire code violations found by the fire marshal in Seattle.
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2062337807
Fax: 2063869025
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.

Funding for processing this record series was provided through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

A Fire Department was established by City Charter in 1883. It provided for equipment purchases, but not for hiring of firefighters. Following the Great Fire of 1889, a professional fire department was created with five district fire stations and purchase of a fire boat. The first Fire Chief of the professional department was Gardner Kellogg who served 1890-1892 and 1895-1901. A Board of Fire Commissioners was established by the 1890 City Charter to prescribe rules and regulations for the Department. The Board's responsibilities included enforcing rules violations, and appointing the Fire Chief and all subordinate officers. The Board was abolished with passage of a new City Charter in 1896. The position of Fire Marshal was established in 1901 with responsibility for inspecting buildings to insure they were in compliance the ordinances related to building construction and fire protection. The Fire Marshal also inspects all fires and reports on the causes. The Department's mission is to curtail loss of life and property by fire through inspection and certification of building safety systems, public education, regulation of hazardous material storage, and fire suppression.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This series contains index cards recording fire code violations by business owners, employees, and citizens. Information given includes date of offense, name, violation, resulting fine and/or judgment. Offenses ranged from obstructing hallways, improper storage of combustibles, "unflameproofed circus tents," illegal sale of fireworks and fire exit doors nailed shut. Smoking in a "no smoking" area also resulted in fines for many longshoremen, fisherman and other individuals working on or near Seattle docks. During the 1920s and 1930s, many theatre owners were fined for allowing people to congregate in the lobby, aisles or for someone smoking on stage.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item and date],Seattle Fire Marshal Fire Code Violation Cards, Record Series 2810-09. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Building inspection--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Fire prevention--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Names

  • Seattle (Wash.). Fire Dept.
  • Seattle (Wash.). Fire Marshal

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.).