Eliminating Yakima's only fire code inspector also eliminated the city's obligation to conduct annual fire safety inspections. But amid growing safety concerns, the city council handed part of the responsibility to the fire marshal and deputy fire marshal. Our news partner KIMA action news reports the city is already seeing the consequences of the change finding code violations in a number of businesses.  The city now relies on reports from private inspectors to find businesses violating the fire code. It's far from the city's original proactive role.

The inspector's checklist included exit signs, fire extinguishers, electrical wiring and fire alarms just to name a few, as well as more technical inspections. Recently some businesses haven't allowed private examiners inside, which makes it more difficult for the city to find out about code violations.

The city's previous inspector checked about 4,000 buildings a year.

Yakima's Fire Marshal says city council will revisit the issue this summer. That discussion will consider hiring a code inspector, imposing a fee or businesses or keeping things as they are.