Alexandria's Chief Fire Marshal Michael A. Conner, Sr., has been reappointed to the State Building Code Technical Review Board by Gov. Mark Warner. He was first appointed to the Board in 1991 by then Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.
Conner, a native Alexandrian, served as a member of the Alexandria Fire Department for 28 years prior to his retirement as deputy chief. He was appointed the city's chief fire marshal in 1999.
For the past five years, Conner has served as chair of the 14-member Technical Review Board. He serves as the board's official representative of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.
"The board has three primary functions," Conner said. They are:
* Hear local government administrative appeals involving building code officials and developers throughout the state. These involve any regulations dealing with building, fire, and amusement device codes issued by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, according to Conner.
* Render interpretations of those codes.
* Provide technical assistance to the Board of Housing and Community Development as they promulgate new regulations.
“We are now in the process of adopting a new administrative code. It will be the guide for all fire and building officials in Virginia," Conner said.
IN HIS POSITION with Alexandria, Conner manages the Existing Structure Division of the Code Enforcement Bureau. This calls for expertise in the areas of fire investigation, interpretation of fire and building codes and risk analysis, Conner said.
His responsibilities also include assisting and coordinating the Emergency Preparedness function for all city agencies. During his career with the Fire Department, Conner was responsible for managing the Administrative Services Bureau which included the Emergency Communications Center, facilities and the apparatus fleet management within the department.
Conner began his fire fighting career in 1956 in the cadet program, while a student at George Washington High School. Following four years of service in the United States Coast Guard, where he attained the rank of damage control petty officer and served a 15 month tour-of-duty in Vietnam, Conner returned to the Alexandria Fire Department in 1970.
He rose through the ranks, serving as firefighter, emergency medical technician and dispatcher, before being promoted into the Fire Prevention Bureau in 1981. He was named Fireman of the Year in 1973.
CONNER SERVED on the National Fire Protection Association's Fire Inspector Certification Committee, responsible for developing testing and national certification standards for fire inspectors. He was among the first five officials in Virginia to obtain NFPA's Fire Inspector I and II certifications.
He has served on the Department of Housing and Community Development's ad-hoc committee to develop a statewide Fire Prevention Code and the state's Department of Fire Program's ad-hoc committee that created standards for Fire Inspectors.
Locally Conner is president emeritus of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, believed to be one of the oldest fire companies in the nation. Its membership dates to 1774 with George Washington as a founding and honorary member of the association.