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Substitute House Bill No. 6582

Public Act No. 03-231

AN ACT CONCERNING PYROTECHNIC AND OTHER FIRE HAZARDS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 29-306 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

When the local fire marshal ascertains that there exists in any building, or upon any premises, combustible or explosive matter, dangerous accumulation of rubbish or any flammable material especially liable to fire, which is so situated as to endanger life or property, or finds obstructions or conditions that present a fire hazard to the occupants or interfere with their egress in case of fire, or a condition in violation of the statutes relating to fire prevention or safety, or any regulation made pursuant thereto, the remedy of which requires construction or a change in structure, he shall order such materials to be forthwith removed or the conditions remedied by the owner or occupant of such building or premises, and all such construction and changes shall be in conformance with all building codes, ordinances, rules and regulations of the municipality involved and such owner or occupant shall be subject to the penalties prescribed by section 29-295 and, in addition thereto, may suffer a penalty of fifty dollars a day for each day of neglect for each violation, to be recovered in a proper action in the name of the state. Upon failure of an owner or occupant to abate such hazard or remedy such condition within a reasonable period of time as specified by the local fire marshal, such local fire marshal shall promptly notify in writing the prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction in the municipality in which such hazard exists of all the facts pertaining thereto, and such official shall promptly take such action as the facts may require, and a copy of such notification shall be forwarded promptly to the State Fire Marshal. The local fire marshal may request the chief executive officer or any official of the municipality authorized to institute actions on behalf of the municipality in which the hazard exists, or the State Fire Marshal, for the purpose of closing or restricting from public service or use such place or premises until such hazard has been remedied, to apply to any court of equitable jurisdiction for an injunction against such owner or occupant; or the State Fire Marshal, on his own initiative, may apply to such court for such injunction. When such hazard is found to exist upon premises supervised or licensed by a state department or agency, the State Fire Marshal shall promptly notify the administrator of such department or agency of his findings and shall issue orders for the elimination of such hazard. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any building, structure or premises used in the carrying on of manufacturing. If the local fire marshal or local police determines that there exists in a building a risk of death or injury from overcrowding, blockage of required exiting or from the indoor use of pyrotechnics, such fire marshal or police officer may issue a verbal or written order to immediately vacate the building. A violation of such order shall be subject to the penalties under section 29-295.

Sec. 2. Section 29-381 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) No owner, proprietor, manager or agent of any theater, concert or music hall or assembly hall or of any building, auditorium or rooms used for public gatherings shall permit any person to occupy any aisle in any such theater, concert or music hall, assembly hall or other building used for such purpose, or permit any person to occupy the back or sides of any such building or room used as aforesaid, to such an extent as to prevent the free and unobstructed passage to and from the entrance to any aisle or any of the exits in such place; but the provisions of this section shall not apply to town halls which are on the ground floor.

(b) Before any performance or event at any theater, concert or music hall or assembly hall or at any building, auditorium or room used for public gatherings of more than one hundred persons, the owner, proprietor, manager or agent of such theater, hall, building, auditorium or room shall make a public announcement that describes the location of emergency exits.

(c) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than fifty dollars.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Each place of public assembly, as defined in the State Fire Safety Code, constructed after the effective date of this section or renovated after the effective date of this section to increase capacity or change its occupancy, as defined in the State Building Code, shall have a main entrance sufficient to allow the emergency exit of two-thirds of the capacity of such place of assembly.

Sec. 4. Section 19a-343 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) For the purposes of sections 19a-343 to 19a-343h, inclusive, a person creates or maintains a public nuisance if such person erects, establishes, maintains, uses, owns or leases any real property or portion thereof for any of the purposes enumerated in subdivisions (1) to [(10)] (11), inclusive, of subsection (c) of this section.

(b) The state has the exclusive right to bring an action to abate a public nuisance under this section and sections 19a-343a to 19a-343h, inclusive, involving any real property or portion thereof, commercial or residential, including single or multifamily dwellings, provided there have been three or more arrests, or the issuance of three or more arrest warrants indicating a pattern of criminal activity and not isolated incidents, for conduct on the property documented by a law enforcement officer for any of the offenses enumerated in subdivisions (1) to [(10)] (11), inclusive, of subsection (c) of this section within the three hundred sixty-five days preceding commencement of the action.

(c) Three or more arrests, or the issuance of three or more arrest warrants indicating a pattern of criminal activity and not isolated incidents, for the following offenses shall constitute the basis for bringing an action to abate a public nuisance:

(1) Prostitution under section 53a-82, 53a-83, 53a-86, 53a-87, 53a-88 or 53a-89.

(2) Promoting an obscene performance or obscene material under section 53a-196 or 53a-196b, employing a minor in an obscene performance under section 53a-196a or importing or possessing child pornography under section 53a-196c or 53a-196d.

(3) Transmission of gambling information under section 53-278b or 53-278d or maintaining of a gambling premises under section 53-278e.

(4) Offenses for the sale of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances with intent to sell, or maintaining a drug factory under section 21a-277, 21a-278 or 21a-278a or use of the property by persons possessing controlled substances under section 21a-279. Nothing in this section shall prevent the state from also proceeding against property under section 21a-259 or 54-36h.

(5) Unauthorized sale of alcoholic liquor under section 30-74 or disposing of liquor without a permit under section 30-77.

(6) Violations of the inciting injury to persons or property law under section 53a-179a.

(7) Maintaining a motor vehicle chop shop under section 14-149a.

(8) Murder or manslaughter under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-55, 53a-56 or 53a-56a.

(9) Assault under section 53a-59, 53a-59a, subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 53a-60 or section 53a-60a.

(10) Sexual assault under section 53a-70 or 53a-70a.

(11) Fire safety violations under section 29-292, subsection (b) of section 29-310, or section 29-315, 29-317, 29-320, 29-325, 29-329, 29-337, 29-349 or 29-357.

Sec. 5. Section 19a-510a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The attending physician, the director of a health care institution, his designee, or any health care provider shall report the provision of treatment for (1) a second or third degree burn to five per cent or more of the body, (2) any burn to the upper respiratory tract, (3) laryngeal edema due to the inhalation of superheated air, [and] (4) each case of a burn injury which is likely to or may result in death, and (5) any injury resulting from the use of fireworks, immediately, by telephone, to the local fire marshal of the jurisdiction where the incident which caused the burn occurred, and within forty-eight hours, in writing, to the State Fire Marshal's Office on forms provided by that office. The report shall be sent to the Bureau of State Fire Marshal and Safety Services which shall compile the information and publish a statistical abstract to be submitted annually to local fire marshals and the General Assembly.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to remove the primary responsibility for fire investigations from the appropriate local jurisdiction.

(c) For purposes of this section "health care provider" means any person, corporation, facility or institution licensed by this state to provide health care or professional services, or an officer, employee or agent thereof acting in the course and scope of his employment.

Sec. 6. Section 29-362 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

The State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal shall seize, take, store, remove or cause to be removed, at the expense of the owner, all stocks of fireworks or combustibles offered or exposed for sale, stored, held or kept in violation of sections 29-356 to 29-366, inclusive, as amended by this act. When any fireworks have been seized, the superior court having jurisdiction, within forty-eight hours after such seizure, shall cause to be left at the place where such fireworks were seized, if such place is a dwelling house, store, shop or other building, and also to be left with or at the usual place of abode of the person named therein as the owner or keeper of such fireworks, a summons notifying him or her and all others whom it may concern to appear before such court, at a place and time named in such notice, which time shall be not less than six nor more than twelve days after the posting and service thereof, then and there to show cause, if any, why such fireworks should not be adjudged a nuisance. Such summons shall describe such articles with reasonable certainty, and state when and where the same were seized. If any person named in such summons or any person claiming any interest in the same appears, he or she shall be made a party defendant in such case. The informing officer or the complainants may appear and prosecute such complaint and, if the court finds the allegations of such complaint to be true and that such fireworks or any of them have been kept in violation of any provision of sections 29-356 to 29-366, inclusive, as amended by this act, judgment shall be rendered that such articles are a nuisance, and execution shall issue that the same be destroyed together with the crates, boxes or vessels containing the same.

Sec. 7. Section 29-357 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, no person, firm or corporation shall offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail or use or explode or possess with intent to sell, use or explode any fireworks, except, notwithstanding the provisions of section 29-356, any person who is sixteen years of age or older may offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, purchase, use or possess with intent to sell or use sparklers of not more than one hundred grams of pyrotechnic mixture per item, which are nonexplosive and nonaerial.

(b) The State Fire Marshal shall adopt reasonable regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, for the granting of permits for supervised displays of fireworks or for the indoor use of pyrotechnics for special effects by municipalities, fair associations, amusement parks, other organizations or groups of individuals or artisans in pursuit of their trade. Such permit may be issued upon application to said State Fire Marshal and after (1) inspection of the site of such display or use by the local fire marshal to determine compliance with the requirements of such regulations, (2) approval of the chiefs of the police and fire departments, or, if there is no police or fire department, of the first selectman, of the municipality wherein the display is to be held as is provided in this section, and (3) the filing of a bond by the applicant as provided in section 29-358. No such display shall be handled or fired by any person until such person has been granted a certificate of competency by the State Fire Marshal, in respect to which a fee of fifty dollars shall be payable to the State Treasurer when issued and which may be renewed every three years upon payment of a fee of thirty dollars to the State Treasurer, provided such certificate may be suspended or revoked by said marshal at any time for cause. Such certificate of competency shall attest to the fact that such operator is competent to fire a display. Such display shall be of such a character and so located, discharged or fired as in the opinion of the chiefs of the police and fire departments or such selectman, after proper inspection, will not be hazardous to property or endanger any person or persons. In an aerial bomb, no salute, report or maroon may be used that is composed of a formula of chlorate of potash, sulphur, black needle antimony and dark aluminum. Formulas that may be used in a salute, report or maroon are as follows: (A) Perchlorate of potash, black needle antimony and dark aluminum, and (B) perchlorate of potash, dark aluminum and sulphur. No high explosive such as dynamite, fulminate of mercury or other stimulator for detonating shall be used in any aerial bomb or other pyrotechnics. Application for permits shall be made in writing at least fifteen days prior to the date of display, on such notice as the State Fire Marshal by regulation prescribes, on forms furnished by him, and a fee of thirty-five dollars shall be payable to the State Treasurer with each such application. After such permit has been granted, sales, possession, use and distribution of fireworks for such display shall be lawful for that purpose only. No permit granted hereunder shall be transferable. Any permit issued under the provisions of this section may be suspended or revoked by the State Fire Marshal or the local fire marshal for violation by the permittee of any provision of the general statutes, any regulation or any ordinance relating to fireworks.

(c) The State Fire Marshal may grant variations or exemptions from, or approve equivalent or alternate compliance with, particular provisions of any regulation issued under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section where strict compliance with such provisions would entail practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship or is otherwise adjudged unwarranted, provided any such variation, exemption, approved equivalent or alternate compliance shall, in the opinion of the State Fire Marshal, secure the public safety and shall be made in writing.

(d) Any person, firm or corporation violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than ninety days or be both fined and imprisoned, except that (1) any person, firm or corporation violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section by offering for sale, exposing for sale or selling at retail or possessing with intent to sell any fireworks with a value exceeding ten thousand dollars shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, and (2) any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of subsection (b) of this section or any regulation adopted thereunder shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, except if death or injury results from any such violation, such person, firm or corporation shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Sec. 8. Subsection (i) of section 19a-343a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(i) At the evidentiary hearing upon the public nuisance complaint, the state shall have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence of the existence of a public nuisance upon the real property as defined in section 19a-343, as amended by this act. If the state presents clear and convincing evidence that there have been three or more arrests, or the issuance of three or more arrest warrants indicating a pattern of criminal activity and not isolated incidents, for conduct on the real property or any portion thereof documented by a law enforcement officer for any of the offenses enumerated in subdivisions (1) to [(10)] (11), inclusive, of subsection (c) of section 19a-343, as amended by this act, within the three hundred sixty-five days preceding commencement of the action, this shall create a rebuttable presumption of the existence of a public nuisance. Any defendant may offer evidence by way of an affirmative defense that [he] such defendant has taken reasonable steps to abate the public nuisance, but has been unable to abate the nuisance.

Approved July 9, 2003