State decides food trucks do not need additional fire safety equipment

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WATERTOWN — The state has reversed an earlier decision that required food trucks to install expensive fire safety equipment to operate at farmers markets and fairs.

City code enforcement supervisor Dana Aikins was notified by a New York Department of State official on Friday that it was revising its interpretation on existing food trucks needing to install new safety systems.

In May, the city code enforcement office conveyed to Douglas Lamont, who operates a food truck at the Watertown farmers market, that he would have to install fire safety equipment in the truck he and his wife have run for years.

But with the state’s revised interpretation, Mr. Lamont will not have to do that, Mr. Aikins said.

“The system requires (food trucks) to be maintained and in good working order,” he said. “It does not require adding a new safety system.”

Mr. Aikins plans to notify Mr. Lamont on Tuesday that the state has reversed its decision.

The state had changed its code pertaining to food trucks in 2020, but now is saying existing trucks are “grandfathered” and won’t need to make additional changes.

On Saturday, Mr. Lamont said he was not aware of the change until he was told by a reporter that his truck would no longer need the fire safety equipment.

He declined to comment about the state’s reversal, except to say “I’m going to wait to hear from city codes on Tuesday.”

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