A. The fire marshal shall have the right, if authorized by the governing body of the county, city, or town appointing the fire marshal, to enter upon any property from which a release of any hazardous material, hazardous waste, or regulated substance, as defined in § 10.1-1400 or 62.1-44.34:8, has occurred or is reasonably suspected to have occurred and which has entered into the ground water, surface water or soils of the county, city or town in order to investigate the extent and cause of any such release.
B. If, in undertaking such an investigation, the fire marshal makes an affidavit under oath that the origin or cause of any such release is undetermined and that he has been refused admittance to the property, or is unable to gain permission to enter the property, any magistrate serving the city or county where the property is located may issue an investigation warrant to the fire marshal authorizing him to enter such property for the purpose of determining the origin and source of the release. After issuing a warrant under this section, the magistrate shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54. After executing the warrant, the fire marshal shall return the warrant to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the investigation was made.
C. If the fire marshal, after gaining access to any property pursuant to such investigation warrant, has probable cause to believe that the release was caused by any act constituting a criminal offense, he shall discontinue the investigation until a search warrant has been obtained or consent to conduct the search has otherwise been given.
1992, c. 712; 2008, cc. 551, 691; 2014, c. 354.