Before you sit down for a meal at a restaurant or stroll through one of the shops on the Hill Country Mile, fire inspectors like Collin Rogers have already been there, making sure the necessary life safety systems are in place in the event of an emergency.
Rogers has been with the Boerne Fire Marshal’s Office for three and half years. Under the Fire Department, the Fire Marshal’s Office has a range of responsibilities related to fire prevention and planning.
The office reviews plans for new commercial construction to ensure the proper fire safety systems are in preparation. From there, inspectors like Rogers visit the job site multiple times throughout construction to confirm the correct installation of those systems and run acceptance testing. The office works with business owners and developers to resolve any discrepancies before occupancy is permitted.
The goal, Rogers says, is safety compliance, not undue restrictions.
Some of the most important fire safety plans the office works to ensure are an adequate supply of water to fight a potential fire and the ability of people to exit the building quickly and safely.
“Many people might not know all that goes into plans review for new construction,” Rogers said. “We are as much a part of that process as other City departments like Planning, Engineering, Utilities, and Permitting and Code Compliance.”
On the residential side, Rogers and the Fire Marshal’s Office review plans for the overall development site, making sure roads and gates are designed to allow ease of access for fire apparatus and ensuring proper placement of hydrants.
Rogers says another crucial component of the job is engaging with the community – from the young to the young at heart.
“What I really like about working for the City and the Fire Department is all the people I get to work with,” he said. “You get to meet and talk to different people and help with a wide variety of problems. It’s something new every day.”
A regular challenge for the office, Rogers says, are the many older buildings in town that were built before modern fire safety regulations were introduced, such as wider doorways or optimal stairwell placement. While these buildings can’t be reconstructed, Rogers works regularly with their operators to put in place the most crucial life safety measures and ensure their proper maintenance and operation.
Rogers recently worked with the Benedictine Sisters of Boerne to upgrade more than 80 fire safety devices, including smoke alarms, in their historic retreat center, which welcomes more than 3,000 visitors a year. He and the Fire Marshal’s Office worked with the Sisters to find a generous local donor to fund the purchase of the devices and helped to get them all installed properly.
“When we find a situation, we leave it safer than when we found it,” Rogers said. “Ensuring the safety of residents and visitors is our top priority.”
Rogers, originally from the Houston area, lives in Boerne with his wife and their daughter. New to the area, they enjoy the community and appreciate how engaged residents are and how much they care about their city.
This profile is part of a series showcasing members of City staff who provide exemplary service. We want to spotlight their hard work and share behind-the-scenes things you might not know.