Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Marin County




Brian Crawford (415 499 6550) new chief of planning in 2008.

Larry Grace replaced Leon McNeil in 2007.


On June 28, 2006 Howard Lasker, Mcnear Brick, and Jim Buckley to see Leon McNeil, the new Chief of The Marin County Building and Safety Division, who has replaced Ed Henry.

    Leon McNeil, Chief
    Phone: (415) 499-6550 - Fax: (415) 499-7432 - TDD: (415) 499-6368
    E-mail Address: lmcneil@co.marin.ca.us
Here is Howard's report:

The meeting went well. I think we accomplished what we set out to do. 3 Rumfords (30", 36", 48") are approved for use in Marin County. This is a County Approval (some cities might have a say or not) In any event, the Deputy Director gave us the green light. That same day Jim and I went to Kinkos and made 8 booklets for his Dept of Bldgs inspectors and 1 for the Green bldg Coordinator, per the Deputy Director. He wanted all his staff to have the following in booklet format:

  • emissions summary
  • emissions letter to state of wash EPA
  • Test Results from OMNI
  • Rumford install instructions for each unit approved
  • Registration forms to filled out by installer and homeowner & sent to Rumford
  • Black label with serial numbers for each registered Rumford
We followed up and sent the booklets to Howard who gave them to Leon McNeal



Thank you very much for the thoughtful and informative response...I will talk to my architect about this and see what he says...it appears that we did get our plans through the building department, with a rumford fire box, and a "permanent" gas log set installed. They did not come back and tell us to reduce the dimension of the flue, as I had been warned they might, to prevent us from "un-permanenting" the gas log set at a later date.

However I do think it is worth trying to get them to approve the use of these fireboxes without the gas log set, as they have the right in theory starting in 2008 to inspect and demand modification or cessation of all woodburning fireplaces in Marin County Code.

I have been through a bunch of fights with the County on this project already, so I need to talk to my architect and see if I want to go one more round with them, or if I just install the gas log set and pass inspection that way for now...I appreciate your offer to help in the event I do go to challenge them...thanks, Mike*


Mike, Thanks for the report. If you don't mind I will post it (without your name or contact info) on our Marin County info page at http://www.rumford.com/emissions/Marin.html for future reference for me and others.

It's great that you got approval for at least the gas logs. Since you must have a lot of other things to do, I would get your home built and the permit finalized and then appeal the wood-burning issue if you want to burn wood.

Don't under any circumstance agree to reduce the size of the flue or install a "B Vent". It's against the National Fuel Gas Code for good reason - a flue that is too small will not draw all the products of combustion and you will spill carbon monoxide and a "B-Vent" would be a fire hazard if a future owner or house guest would ever burn a wood fire in the fireplaces. Basically the code and good sense dictates that if it looks like a real fireplace it better be a real fireplace.

Buy one of the gas logs made for our Rumfords from us at http://www.rumford.com/store/gaslogs.html You may like them. If you win the appeal and want to burn wood we will take your gas logs back and refund your full purchase price.

Jim Buckley

Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005
Subject: County of Marin
From: "James G. Lino"
To: Jim Buckley

County of Marin update! I spoke with Ed Henry (Co. of Marin Chief Building Inspector) last week regarding the County's new fireplace ordinance. As I think you know masonry fireplaces are no longer allowed in Marin (existing fireplaces excluded). The County is, however, making an exception - they are allowing Rumford type fireplaces only when Superior Clay parts are specified. This information will not be provided by the County, one must ask the right questions to learn of the exception. Good job Jim! I have tried for years to get Ed Henry to allow me certain exceptions, always to no avail.

Best regards,
Jim Lino

Date: 10/6/05
To: ehenry@co.marin.ca.us
From: Jim Buckley
Subject: Fireplace Approval
Cc: robert@mcnear.com

Mr. Ed Henry,

I have read the Marin County Wood Smoke Ordinance and in particular the section below:

    19.08.090 NEW CONSTRUCTION, ADDITIONS OR REMODELS Non-EPA Phase II-Certified wood burning heaters or woodburning fireplaces will not be allowed to be added in new construction, additions or remodels of any size. Pellet-fueled and gas appliances will be allowed.
As you know the EPA does not have a standard nor a fueling protocol for any wood-burning appliance except a narrow class of woodstoves. For the last ten years or so we have worked with the states of Colorado and Washington, with Northern Sonoma County, with others within our industry, with several test labs and the EPA itself to develop standards and test methods equivalent to the EPA stove standard appropriate for masonry heaters and masonry fireplaces.

I have attached our test results under a cover letter from Paul Tiegs, Director of the EPA certified test lab, OMNI Please consider this letter an application for approval of the three Rumford fireplaces tested by OMNI that met the equivalent of the EPA Phase II standard.

Jim Buckley*

Fireplace Emissions
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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