Fraudulent Fire Inspectors
What Is Happening
Recently, the City of Torrance and Anaheim prosecuted individuals and a fire protection company for posing as firefighters performing inspections on local businesses. The investigation revealed that the subjects would enter a business suggesting they represented the fire department and stated they were going to perform the Quarterly Fire Inspection. After these fraudulent inspections, businesses would receive an invoice for various services that were allegedly performed. This was then followed by aggressive and professional collection efforts.
The Brea Fire Department conducts fire inspections in all Brea businesses once per calendar year if you have permits at your location and every other year if you do not have permits. Business owners should not let anyone inspect their fire extinguishers, sprinkler system, hood system, or any other protection device unless they have an agreement with a specific fire protection service.
When someone enters your business to perform any type of fire protection work, they must do four things before you should even consider retaining their services:
- They must introduce themselves as to what company they are from and produce a business card. Conducting an inspection or work without your approval and submitting an invoice is not recommended.
- They must present a copy of a current Brea business license for the company they represent, California State Fire Marshal picture identification, and a C-16 or C-10 license issued by the California Contractor’s State License Board.
- They must tell you what they intend to do and what the estimated costs will be. (Never pay in cash. Invoicing and record keeping are important for your business and legal avenues).
- They must leave any parts that they have replaced and charged you for and they must leave you with a signed invoice.
Fire Department personnel wear dark blue uniforms with badges and shoulder patches and drive city vehicles carrying the city's seal. Employees carry city identification cards with the word fire on the front and will not hesitate to show the card.
The department does not use private companies to inspect businesses and personnel always leave a copy of the fire life & safety inspection form. Personnel also provide only inspection services and do not repair or replace equipment or recommend other companies that do so. Fire Department personnel will never ask for payment on site. You will be billed through the city at a later date.
What You Can Do
Remember, you can always refuse service and request a Brea Fire Department inspector visit your business. We will gladly advise you of any needed service. Call 714-990-7655 for any assistance or questions.
Fire Marshal Kathy Schaefer would like to thank you for helping us combat this type of fraud.