The Fire Marshall's office is a part of the city Fire Department. The Duty of the Fire Marshall is to protect life and property through fire prevention, and code enforcement. The Fire Marshall's office has several Captains and Lieutenants who inspect businesses and enforce the fire code. This is done to enhance the safety of the public.
Lt. Smith has been an inspector with the FM office for just over a year. His area of the city includes some light industrial businesses, retail, and service businesses. He really doesn't like being in inspections. The people don't like to see him, because he forces them to follow the fire code, which often means they have to spend money. They hate to spend money.
Lt. Smith is just finishing his inspection of a small self-storage business. He smells something, something vaguely like chemicals. He looks around and sees one of the storage units with the door half up. As he approaches, the odour gets stronger. He stops in front of the storage unit, looks around, and sucks his head under to door.
He doesn't know he is being watched.
Inside, he finds 2 men. They have tables and lab equipment set up in the storage unit. They look up, as Lt. Smith steps in. Pleasantries are exchanged, and Lt. Smith asks what they are doing.
"Research." the older one says. What kind of research he asks. Chemical they answer. Lt. Smith looks around at the glassware, burners, chemicals and scales and decides this is not safe. He explains that they cannot do this in a storage unit. Even though they are a start up research company, they have to have a proper place.
Alas, the chemists have tried, but are not able to find such a suitable location. Lt. Smith calls the building department. He explains that he has found a small lab, and they need a suitable building. The building department starts going through files, and making contacts. Surely, working together with the Fire Department, and Economic Development they can help this upstart business make a home in our fine city.
Lt. Smith has spent over 1/2 an hour with them. He has made phone calls and tried to help. He is pleased that, this time, the owners are happy to see him, and thankful for his help. Lt. Smith leaves the storage unit, after the owners promise to follow up with him and the Building Department the next day.
Three days later....
Lt. Smith receives a call at home. It is early Saturday morning, his day off. He is ordered by the chief of the department to come immediately to the storage unit. No further explanation is given.
When he arrives, he sees local police, Dallas County Sheriff's, Fire Department Chiefs, and many many blue jackets with ATF on the back.
It immediately dawns on him what is happening, and what has happened.
It seems that the ATF had the place staked out. It was a "major drug lab" according to the ATF official on the scene. All was fine, except for one little problem. They had footage of the 2 major players/manufacturers inside being visited (for no less than 30 minutes) by one Lt. from the local fire department. His face was plainly visible on the tape. As well as his Fire Department car and patches on his uniform.
Luckily, they didn't think he was involved. But it was hard to understand how he was that naive.