Inspections & Investigations


The Office of the Fire Marshal conducts all fire and life safety code enforcement activities through building plans examination in addition to on-site fire inspections.

Fire inspectors are trained and certified through national certification processes to determine code violations and to offer violation remedies. Fire Inspectors follow state code and local ordinances to ensure that public buildings are safe for occupancy, and in the event of an emergency, occupants can safely escape.


Inspections of all commercial occupancies are required by The North Carolina Fire Prevention Code based on the type of occupancy. A fee is charged for all general and permitted inspections.

Inspection Schedule:

  • One year: Hazardous, institutional, high rise, assembly except those noted below and residential (except for one and two dwellings and only interior common areas of dwelling units of multi-family occupancies).
  • Two year: Industrial and educational (except public schools).
  • Three year: Assembly occupancies with an occupant load less than 100, business, mercantile, storage, churches, synagogues and miscellaneous Group U occupancies.


All fires are required to be investigated according to N.C. General Statutes. If an engine company cannot determine the origin and cause of a fire, a fire investigator can be requested. Other reasons to request a fire investigator include an incendiary fire, large dollar loss, or a fatality.

  • To request a copy of a fire report, see the section below labeled Requesting Public Information.

The Wilmington Fire Department is a member of the Wilmington Fire/Arson Task Force.

Other members of the task force include the Wilmington Police Department, State Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), New Hanover County Fire Services, and New Hanover County Sheriff's Office.

NCIAAI Arson Hotline: 1.800.334.3000

Youth Fire Setter Intervention & Education: Check out more information on WFD's firesetting intervention program on the Community Outreach page.

Plan Reviews

Please allow two weeks for all plan reviews to be completed.

The Fire and Life Safety Division conducts plans reviews for all site development, commercial construction, fire alarms, fire sprinklers and other suppression systems, and above ground/underground storage tanks.

The Fire and Life Safety Division enforces the North Carolina Fire Prevention Code for plan reviews and works in conjunction with New Hanover County Inspections during the review process for new construction and alterations. All commercial permits require the Fire and Life Safety Division’s approval before a permit is issued.

New commercial construction permits are issued by New Hanover County Inspections 910.798.7151. Within the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County Inspections conducts building, mechanical, electrical and plumbing code inspections. Check the status of a pending review online.

Separate reviews are also conducted for fire alarms, fire sprinklers, suppression systems and site development. All permits must be obtained prior to construction.

Please submit fire system plans separately at the address below:

Wilmington Fire Department
Fire Marshal's Office
929 N Front St.
Wilmington, NC 28401

Contact the Fire Marshal's Office with any questions regarding plan review at 910.343.0696.

SEC. 510 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage Guide for Building Owners/ Managers, General Contractors, Vendors and Installers of ERRC Systems

Building Code Enforcement Fees

Annual Report — SL 2022-11 (S372v6.pdf (, Section 9. (a) requires that every local government publish an annual financial report on how it used fees from the prior fiscal year for the support, administration, and implementation of its building code enforcement program as required by G.S. 160D-402(d); this report is due no later than October 1 of 2023, 2024, and 2025.