Fire Department


The Duluth Fire Department requires permits for certain activities. Listed below are the activities. Please check the current fees at the Duluth Fee Schedule. 

Download Permit Application

Blasting Permit 

1. All blasting done within the City Of Duluth shall require a permit issued by the Fire Marshal or his/her designee. 

2. A detailed plan shall be submitted at time of permit application indicating blast site, reason for blasting, storage of blasting materials, transportation routes and designated times for blasting.

3. Blast seismic reports may be required by the Fire Department at any time.

4. Blasters must carry $2,000,000 insurance. Proof of insurance shall be provided at time of permit application that indicates validity through duration of permit.

5. Blasting permits shall be kept on site, and shall be presented at the request of the Fire Department.

6. Forty-eight (48) hours (week day only) notice must be given to allow Public Works to survey the site prior to blasting. It shall be the responsibility of the blaster to contact Public Works as per instructions on the permit.

7. Failure to comply with permit regulations/restrictions shall result in immediate cancellation on the permit and possible restrictions on future blasting within the City of Duluth.

8. Any blasting done without an approved permit shall result in an increased permit fee as per current fee schedule.

Open Burning Permit

1. Open burning permits are designed for the burning of brush that has fallen from trees in the event of a storm or high winds. Brush is defined as three (3) inches in diameter or less. No permits shall be granted for land clearing, leaves, construction lumber, rubbish, trees, etc...

2. The fire shall be 300 feet from any significant structure, including structures on the same property.

3. The burn site/materials shall be inspected prior to burning. The fee is non-refundable after this point.

4. Permits are generally good for a maximum two-week period, however extensions may be granted by the Fire Marshal at no additional cost.

5. The Duluth Fire Department may cancel or suspend burning permits due to DNR burning restrictions or similar hazardous conditions beyond the control of the permit applicant. If a permit is cancelled or suspended based on this provision, the permit can be extended or the permit fee can be refunded.

6. Permits may be revoked at any time if these rules are violated; a neighbor has a justifiable complaint or other hazardous condition.

7. Permit applicant is responsible for calling the 911 communication center at 218-727-8770 and the on duty Duluth Fire Department Shift Commander at 218-723-3201 prior to commencing burning.

8. Permit applicants shall be aware of power lines, telephone lines and smoke interfering with adjacent roadways.

Bonfire Permit 

1. Bon-fires are intended for school events or other similar large social events. These events shall be sponsored by a public, parochial, private school or other approved organizations.

2. Bon-fires shall consist of clean lumber only (i.e. pallets).

3. Bon-fires shall be 300 feet from significant structures.

4. A school employee or event representative shall purchase the permit at least 1 week prior to the event.

5. A Duluth firefighter is required to be present and start the fire.

6. A representative of the Fire Prevention Division shall inspect the burn site prior to the event.

7. A school staff or event representative shall be designated as the responsible party for the fire.

8. The Duluth firefighter at the event shall be in charge of the fire. The firefighter shall extinguish the fire at any time personal safety is compromised.

9. A review of an applicant's past bon-fire history may disallow the permit. When the Fire Marshal feels that adequate measures have been taken to correct the past problem(s), a permit may be allowed.

Pyrotechnic Permits

1. All pyrotechnic displays shall be done with an approved permit.

2. A State of Minnesota pyrotechnics license is required for all pyrotechnic displays.

3. The state pyrotechnics license number shall be verified and placed on permit.

4. Plans shall be submitted prior to show, including site plan and shell inventory.

5. All outdoor/indoor displays shall have a representative of the Fire Prevention Division present prior to the actual display.

----Exception: Small flash pots for theatrical performances may not require a permit or witness, with prior approval of Fire Marshal.

6. Use of Fire: The use of fire requires a permit. The permit requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Fire Marshal provided there is no additional public or property risk involved with the use of fire.

7. Pyrotechnic shows shall comply with the current Minnesota State Fire Code and all NFPA standards governing the storage, handling and use of pyrotechnics.

Underground/Above Ground Fuel Tank Installation/Removal Permits

1. Underground/Above Ground fuel storage tanks shall be permitted prior to installation or removal.

2. Each tank installed or removed requires a separate permit.

3. A site plan shall be provided by permit applicant.

4. Any removal of fuel storage tanks requires testing for soil contamination. Documentation shall be provided to code official.

5. Underground fuel storage tanks can be abandoned in place with prior approval of the Fire Marshal.

6. All fuel storage tank removals and installation shall comply with the current Minnesota State Fire Code and applicable NFPA standards.

7. Any fuel leaks that result from the removal or installation of an underground/ above ground fuel storage tank shall be reported to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Duluth Fire Department.

8. Any contamination found in the soil shall be reported to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Duluth Fire Marshal.

9. The Duluth Fire Prevention Division shall be notified prior to any testing prior to installation.

Fireworks Sales Permit

1. State law governs the types of fireworks that can be sold non-commercially. For detailed information, please refer to the State Fire Marshal's web site at 

2. A permit is required to sell fireworks within the City of Duluth.

3. Location of fireworks sales must be approved by the Fire Chief.

4. Fireworks will only be allowed to be sold where allowed by the zoning laws.

5. Unlimited access for inspection of products being sold or those products in storage is required.

6. If the code official is uncertain whether a particular product meets the parameters of the state law, a demo of the product may be required.

7. For any reason the Fire Chief deems the sales as being hazardous due to location, building type, proximity to other combustibles or general hazards the permit can be revoked.

8. This permit is an annual permit. It shall be valid from May 1st through April 30th. The fee shall not be pro-rated.

Fire Watch Permit

1. Fire watch permits are required when there is a recognized hazard in a building or event that requires on-site fire personnel to monitor the event or building.

2. Any situation deemed hazardous by the fire watch to public safety or property shall be grounds for stopping, postponing or canceling the event.

3. Fire watch permits are at the discretion of the Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal shall determine if the event can proceed with a fire watch.

4. Fire watch permits are not intended to allow events or uses in buildings outside the designed use of the building.

Commercial Occupancy Permits

1. General Information

Operational Permit Required

No person, whether an owner, manager, agent or sublessor, shall operate or permit the operation of an occupancy requiring permit unless such occupancy has been granted a permit from the code official. No owner or occupant of any such occupancy shall allow public entry unless proper permit(s) are obtained. If, during the permitted period, the occupancy use as defined by the MSFC changes, no owner/occupant shall permit public use until the code official has inspected the premises and approved the new use. 

Permit application/procedure

All permits shall be issued by the code official. Applications for permits shall be made by the owner or occupant to the code official on forms provided by the code official, and such applications shall be accompanied by the appropriate permit fee. Applications for renewals of permits, as well as permits for new occupancies shall be made at least 60 days prior to either the time the current permit will expire, or in the case of a new occupancy, prior to being open to the public. Upon receipt of a completed application and fees, the code official shall issue a temporary permit allowing the temporary use of the occupancy until such occupancy has been inspected by the code official. New buildings/occupancies which comply with the MSFC shall be issued a permit upon issuance of a certificate of occupancy, completed permit application and appropriate fees. If the inspection by the code official discloses that there are violations in the building, the temporary license may be extended for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 120 days, so that the violations can be corrected and the building re-inspected by the code official. The code official shall not extend a temporary permit more than twice. No permit shall be issued unless the premises or portion of the premises to be permitted has been found by the code official to be in compliance with the MSFC and this policy. If only a portion of the building is permitted, than no non-permitted portions of the building shall be used. Use of any non-permitted portion of a building shall result in revocation of the permit and issuance of a notice to cease use of the building.

Term of Permit

Permits issued pursuant to this policy shall be for a term of three years.

Permits - Terms and Conditions

" Each permit shall be displayed in a conspicuous place accessible to the public and shall state the name and address of the owner of the building and the person or managing agent occupying the building. No permit shall be transferred to another use or building.
" If there is a change in either ownership or management of a building or use, the person or agency of such property prior to such change in ownership or management shall give written notice of the name and address of the new owner and/or manager to the code official. 
" A new permit shall be issued to the building or occupancy for the remainder of the permit period with the name of the new owner/manager upon payment of the required fee and submission of all required application forms. 

Inspections of permitted occupancies - suspensions

" All occupancies permitted pursuant to this policy shall be made available for inspection by the code official at any reasonable time. If the code official is denied access to any permitted occupancy, such official may suspend the permit of the occupancy upon written notice to the permittee, subject to the right of appeal as provided in this policy, and any such suspension shall remain in effect until inspection has been allowed;
" If upon inspection of permitted occupancies for which the permit has been suspended, the code official finds that the occupancy does not comply with provisions of this policy or the MSFC, a written notice shall be served by the code official upon the permittee stating the nature of any violations and a reasonable time, not to exceed 90 days, in which the violations must be corrected or the occupancy vacated. At the end of said time, the code official shall inspect the occupancy. If the occupancy is not vacated, or the violations are not corrected, the code official may suspend the permit of the occupancy subject to the permittee's right of appeal as provided in this policy. If the code official inspects the occupancy and determines that the violations have been corrected, the permit for the occupancy shall be reinstated upon payment of a reinstatement fee;
" In any case where the code official suspends a license pursuant to this section, written notice of such suspension shall be served on the permittee and posted in a conspicuous place in the occupancy, and both such notices shall order the vacation of the occupancy within a reasonable time. After receipt of such notice, and if no appeal is taken within the period of appeals, it shall be unlawful for the permittee to occupy the occupancy until the permit for the occupancy is reinstated. 

Notices and Appeals

" No permit shall be issued unless the applicant designates in writing, to the code official an address located in the City of Duluth where notices issued by the code official may be delivered. All notices issued by the code official regarding a particular license shall be sent by first class mail or personally delivered to the address specified by the permittee, and for the purposes of this policy delivery by such means shall constitute service of such notice on the permittee.
" Any person who receives an order from the code official denying, suspending or revoking a permit may appeal such denial, suspension or revocation to the building appeal board under the procedures set forth in Section 10-5 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended. Request for such appeal shall be in writing to the building official within 15 days after the notice was served. If an appeal is filed, no denial, suspension or revocation shall take affect until after the appeal is heard and determined. The building official shall then set a time and place for such appeal to be heard and notify the appellant of such time and place. No appeal shall be set for hearing less than 10 days or later than 40 days from the date the appeal is filed. At the hearing, appellant may be represented by counsel, may produce witnesses, and may testify in their own behalf. The building appeal board may administer oaths; take testimony and subpoena witnesses and papers at such hearing. After hearing all the evidence and arguments, and after due deliberation, the building appeal board shall affirm, reverse or modify the action of the code official. Notice of the building appeal board's decision shall be served on the appellant within 48 hours after such decision is rendered. Any action taken by the board shall be final.

Service of notices and orders

" Whenever the code official determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provisions of this policy or the MSFC, notice of such alleged violations shall be given to the person responsible thereof, as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall:
" Be put in writing;
" Include a statement of the points of noncompliance with this policy or the MSFC.
" Allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires.
" Be served upon the owner or the owner's agent and the occupant as the case may require; provided, that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner or agent and upon such occupant if a copy thereof is served personally, or a copy thereof is sent by United States mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address, or if a copy thereof is posted in a conspicuous place in or about the occupancy affected by the notice, or if a copy is served by any other method authorized or required under Minnesota law.
" Contain an outline of remedial action, which, if taken, will affect compliance with this policy and/or the MSFC.
" Inform the property owner/occupant of the right to appeal.
" All orders shall be complied with; provided, that in the alternative, the use of the premises may be discontinued as an occupancy.
" Whenever the code official finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health and safety, the code official may, without notice or hearing, issue an order declaring the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as deemed necessary to meet the emergency. Any person to whom such an order is directed shall comply therewith immediately.

2. Occupancy Definitions

Occupancies are defined within the Minnesota State Fire Code. Operational permits are issued based on type of occupancy. As defined, the occupancy types are:

ASSEMBLY - Group A occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for the gathering together of persons for purposes such as civic, social or religious functions, recreation, food or drink consumption or awaiting transportation. 

BUSINESS - Group B occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for office, professional or service-type transactions, including storage of records and accounts. 

EDUCATIONAL - Group E occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, by six or more persons at any one time for educational purposes through the 12th grade.

FACTORY INDUSTRIAL - Group F occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for assembling, disassembling, fabricating, finishing, manufacturing, packaging, repair or processing operations that are not classified as Group H hazardous occupancy.

HAZARDOUS - Group H occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, that involves the manufacturing, processing, generation or storage of materials that constitute a physical or health hazard in quantities in excess of those found in Tables 307.7(1) and 307.7(2) of the International Building Code.

INSTITUTIONAL - Group I occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, in which people having physical limitations because of health or age are harbored for medical treatment or other care or treatment, or in which people are detained for penal or correctional purposes or in which the liberty of the occupants is restricted.

MERCANTILE - Group M occupancy includes, among others, buildings and structures or a portion thereof, for the display and sale of merchandise, and involves stocks of goods, wares or merchandise incidental to such purposes and accessible to the public.

RESIDENTIAL - Group R occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for sleeping accommodations when not classed as an Institutional Group I.

STORAGE - Group S occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for storage that is not classed as a hazardous occupancy. 

3. Frequently Asked Questions

" Why is the Fire Department requiring operational permits?

The Fire Code has always had a provision for issuing operational permits. In the past, fire companies have conducted basic fire inspections of all businesses in Duluth. With changes in staffing, coupled with increased demand for services, priorities had to be developed regarding what types of occupancies should be inspected regularly. By evaluating the Minnesota State Fire Code, fire loss history nationally as well as locally, we have created a more efficient inspection program. The actual issuing of permits provides the code official with a structured program targeting compliance. 

"Why was my business targeted for this program?

Fire death and property loss history was utilized to evaluate all occupancies. The occupancies we will be targeting are those types that have the highest risk to public safety, as well as the highest chance for fire and property loss.

" What City law directs this program?

The permitting process is driven by the Minnesota State Fire Code. Duluth city ordinance 04-059-O allowed the collection of fees for permits .Resolution 04-0682R set the fees for the program. Fees and permit length were patterned off of State of Minnesota programs, similar communities and our own rental housing program.

" Who is in charge of this program?

The program is administered in the Fire Prevention Division. The officer responsible for that Division is the Fire Marshal. All operational permits are signed by the Fire Marshal. All of the inspections will be conducted by well trained Fire Prevention staff. 

"What is the extent of the fire inspection? Will inspectors be looking at other things like mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues?

Once issued, the operational permit will indicate compliance with the Minnesota State Fire Code. That is the code the inspectors are authorized to enforce. There are many provisions in the Code dealing with existing buildings vs. new construction. If a particular building has not changed its use or remodeled extensively, the provisions for existing buildings will be orced. While the fire code official is not charged with enforcing any other code, there are many references in the fire code to electrical, mechanical, and building codes. Generally speaking, we are looking to provide the least hazardous situation within the confines of existing buildings.

"What happens if I choose not to comply?

All businesses that are to be inspected are provided with information approximately 90 days ahead of their inspection. That packet contains all of the information including deadlines for submitting permit applications,fees, etc. Failure to comply with the Minnesota State Fire Code is a misdemeanor. Failure to comply will result in a ticket being written to the occupant, and further correspondence will be handled by the City Attorney's office. It should be noted that the intent of the program is to gain compliance with the code, and provide a greater level of life safety for the public, owners/occupants, and firefighters. We believe that by providing all of the information early in the process, the step of court action can be avoided.

4. Downloadable Permit Application Form

5. Who to Call

General Information: Life Safety Division
Fire Marshal: Marnie Grondahl


1. Permit Fees Link

Fire Department
(218) 730-4400



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