Farmers market food trucks under new fire code scrutiny

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WATERTOWN — Douglas LaMont was surprised when a city code enforcement officer showed up on the first day of the Watertown farmers market two weeks ago to conduct a safety inspection of his food truck.

He and his wife, Rhonda B., have never had to go through a city code enforcement inspection before for their food truck in all the years they’ve come to the Greater Watertown-North Country Farm & Craft Market.

He didn’t know why the code enforcement official showed up out of the blue and didn’t understand why they had to have one, although the inspection focused on fire safety.

At first, Mr. LaMont thought it was a scam and kicked the enforcement officer out of the food truck.

“He was causing a safety concern,” Mr. LaMont said. “He came when we were real busy. He could trip and fall and cause a fire.”

Kayla S. Perry, president of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, said she didn’t know about the safety inspections of food trucks until she received an email from code enforcement two weeks before the farmers market opened on May 25.

The chamber hosts the Wednesday farmers market, which runs through Oct. 5.

It was the first time that food trucks have had to be inspected at the farmers market, she said, adding that she forwarded the email to the food truck vendors.

But not all municipalities are doing the inspections, she said.

Mr. LaMont said he never saw the email until he found it in his junk mail folder.

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