Other than those blasting operations that involve a mine or quarry, the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) can conduct investigations into blasting complaints where the locality does not have it’s own fire official. The SFMO’s investigation is principally focused on whether or not violations of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code have been committed.
If you have concerns regarding blasting in your area, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 804-371-0220.
If requested, the identity of the person making the complaint can be kept confidential during the investigation, but becomes public information once the investigation is complete.
Each complainant should have the following information available when calling the SFMO:
o Your name, address, city, state, zip code, and telephone number(s);
o Location of the blasting operation causing the complaint including the name of the city, county or town;
o Person or name of company causing the complaint, including address, telephone number, license numbers, etc. or any other identifying information. Please provide as much information as possible.
o Description of complaint, dates and times of incidents as best as you may be able to determine.
At no time during the investigation are records open to the public.
Investigation information can be held confidential until the matter has come to a conclusion. At the conclusion of the investigation, the complainant is notified in writing as to the final outcome and the records become public information.
The Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) contains the regulations for storage and use of explosives outside of a mining or quarry operation. Mining and quarry operations are regulated by the Virginia Department of Mines, Mineral, and Energy.
The SFPC sets limits on ground vibrations and air blasts a building may be subjected to. These limits are based on long-standing national standards and are not offered as a guarantee against damage from ground vibration or air blast.
Whether these limitations are exceeded or not, it does not prevent the building owner from instituting a civil action against the contractor or blaster.