Sunday, March 20, 2022

Review - HR 7077 Introduced – Fire Investigations

Earlier this week, Rep Torres (D,NY) introduced HR 7077, the Empowering the U.S. Fire Administration Act. The bill would amend the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 to authorize the United States Fire Administration to conduct investigations of major fires. No funding is authorized for this program.

Moving Forward

While Torres is not a member of the House Science, Space, and, Technology Committee to which this bill was assigned consideration, three of his nine cosponsors {Rep Stevens (D,MI), Rep Meijer (R,MI), Rep Gonzalez (R,OH),} are members. This means that there could be sufficient influence to see this bill considered in Committee. I see nothing in this bill that would engender any organized opposition to the bill. I suspect that the bill would receive significant bipartisan support in Committee and could move to the floor of the House under the suspension of the rules process.


There is nothing in the language of the bill that would specifically require investigation of fires at chemical facilities, or in which stored chemicals at a facility were substantially involved in a fire. The way this bill is set up, that language would have to be included in the regulations established by the Fire Administration.

While one might think that the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) would be the primary investigative agency for fires at a chemical facility, their focus is on the process and chemical issues that lead to the incident, not necessarily the affects of fires caused by the incident or the process of fighting the fires subsequent to an incident. In fact, the crafters of this legislation seemed to specifically have the CSB and their safety agency relative, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in mind when they included in the coordination language of both §35(b)(1) and §35(d), the phrase: “including Federal agencies that are authorized to investigate a major fire or an incident of which the major fire is a part.”

For more details about the provisions of this bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - – subscription required.

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