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KCFD proposes update to fire code to include inspections for food trucks

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Posted at 8:39 AM, Mar 18, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Food trucks in Kansas City, Missouri, would have to get an inspection from the fire department if the city adopts a proposed update to the fire code.

The updates were originally scheduled to go to a committee of city council members for review Wednesday, but are now rescheduled for June.

Deputy fire Chief Jimmy Walker said he doesn’t anticipate the department would enforce new rules until 2020; allowing food trucks owners time to make any necessary changes to meet compliance standards.

“The fire department's view is we're here to protect the life and property of the citizens of Kansas City and I know some of the rules may be cumbersome, but we are going to work with the food trucks,” Walker said.

City law currently requires each food truck get an inspection from the health department. Including a fire inspection would hold food trucks to the same standards as traditional brick and motor restaurants.

Walker said the inspection would officially ensure trucks are following a lot of safety measures many probably already have in place. Inspectors would look for proper ventilation, no grease buildup, emergency shut off valves on connections to fuel sources (such as a propane tank).

“The Kansas City Fire Department is not going to come in and start dropping unnecessary rules and say, ‘You can't come in the city.’ We understand food trucks are popular. So let's work together to keep everybody safe,” Walker said.

Farid Mohammad owns nine food trucks in association with his standard restaurant, Jerusalem Cafe. He said the inspection will be another hoop to jump through. But he doesn’t think it will be a problem so long as the fire department gives food truck owners a grace period to get into compliance.

Mohammad also said he worries the city may require trucks to have sprinkler systems, which would be an expensive addition. But Walker explained only type-one cooking hoods over an area producing grease-laden vapors will be required to have a suppression system on the food truck.

KCFD is working with neighboring departments to establish base requirements for fire safety, so if a food truck gets a fire inspection in a different city, it will meet the same requirements to operate within Kansas City, Missouri.