Last year, the City of Torrance prosecuted two individuals and a fire protection company for posing as firefighters performing fire inspections of our local businesses. Our investigation revealed that the subjects would enter a business suggesting they represented the fire department and stating 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 Torrance Fire Department conducts fire inspections in all Torrance businesses once per calendar year. Business owners should not let anyone inspect their fire extinguishers, sprinkler system, alarm system, hood system, or any other fire protection device until requested by Torrance Fire Department personnel when performing these annual fire inspections.
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.
They must present a copy of a current City of Torrance business license for the company they represent, a California Fire Marshal picture identification, and a C-16 or C-10 license issued by the California Contractors State License Board.
They must tell you what they intend to do and what the estimated costs will be. (DO NOT ever pay in cash! Invoicing and recordkeeping are important for your business and legal avenues.)
They must leave any parts that they have replaced and charged you for. They must leave you with a signed invoice.
REMEMBER, you can always refuse service and request that a Torrance Fire Department Inspector visit your business. We will gladly advise you of any needed service. We also have a list of approved and qualified vendors. Call 310-618-2973 for any assistance or questions. Thank you for helping us combat fraud.
- Fire Marshal Martin Serna