Whenever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of the state fire code, the state fire marshal, in the state fire marshal’s discretion, may modify any provision of the state fire code or any other administrative rule promulgated by the state fire marshal by issuing a variance upon written application by an affected party and upon demonstration by that party of both of the following:
1. That the variance will not threaten the public health, safety or welfare; and
2. That the party will provide measures to protect the public health, safety and welfare that are substantially equivalent to the measures otherwise required under the state fire code or other applicable laws, rules and regulations.