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BISMARCK, N.D. – The Office of the State Fire Marshal has moved from under the Attorney General to the Insurance Commissioner, effective July 1. 

During the 68th Legislative Assembly, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2211. Among other things, the bill moved the State Fire Marshal’s office to the Insurance Department. Before the 1960s, the Fire Marshal reported to the Insurance Commissioner, later changing to the Attorney General to focus on fire-related crimes. 

“Because fire investigations, today, represent a small fraction of what the State Fire Marshal does, we felt this move would best serve the citizens of North Dakota,” said Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread. “Insurance is all about risk prevention, which is what Fire Marshal Nelson and his staff focus heavily on now. This realignment is going to help make our corner of state government more efficient and effective.”

North Dakota Century Code outlines the responsibilities of the State Fire Marshal, which include:

  • Review and inspect buildings and construction plans for fire prevention measures
  • Investigate fires suspected of arson
  • Regulate fireworks and explosives
  • Provide education on fire prevention and mitigation

“We’ve appreciated working with Attorney General Wrigley and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation staff and look forward to continuing to collaborate on shared tasks moving forward,” said State Fire Marshal Doug Nelson. “My staff and I are looking forward to the work we will accomplish in the Insurance Department. We have already hit the ground running on community risk reduction initiatives to better inform the public on fire prevention measures.”

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is headquartered at the State Capitol in Bismarck. Deputy Fire Marshals are stationed throughout the state to provide local fire districts with education and investigation assistance.

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