Plum council sets fine for fire lane violations

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Fire trucks and ambulances need clear paths to make rescues in emergency situations.

Plum Council on Monday night voted to approve an ordinance designed to make drivers think twice before parking in a fire lane.

The new ordinance sets a $25 fine for the offense and gives a property owner the authority to have vehicles towed. Council at last week's work session had discussed setting the fine at $40. Manager Michael Thomas said $25 is more in line with the fines for other vehicle violations.

Council acted on a request from Plum School District officials who have continuously battled fire-lane violations particularly at the back of the high school near the tennis courts, track and swimming pool with no success because the borough had no ordinance providing for enforcement of existing fire lanes in the borough.

“Emergency services personnel expressed concerns about getting back there,” Superintendent Timothy Glasspool said.

“It is a serious concern because the back of the building is where our fans and athletes are (during sporting events).”

Unity Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jeff Currie said he began having concerns about vehicles in the parking lanes at the high school when he and others attempted to conduct driver training in fire trucks.

“There are many events going on (at the high school),” Currie said.

“With cars there, it is difficult to get emergency vehicles through. When someone needs help, we want to get to them quickly.”

Currie is pleased the borough has put teeth in the ordinance with the provisions for fines and towing of vehicles.

“It will be a big help,” Currie said.

Thomas said council's action follows the district's move to create 46 additional parking spaces in the rear of the high school.

“They created more parking spaces,” Thomas said. “There should be no need to park in the fire lane behind the building.

“They completed their end of the bargain. We said we would adopt a fire-lane (enforcement) ordinance.”

Glasspool said the lot is near completion.

Thomas emphasized that borough police will issue tickets to drivers who illegally park in fire lanes throughout the borough.

“The ordinance is not just a school district ordinance,” Thomas said. “It is for the entire borough.”

Glasspool said Mark Kost, school resource officer, will look for violators during school hours and issue citations.

Kost also is a Plum police patrolman.

Glasspool said district officials do not plan to arrange for vehicles to be towed.

The superintendent also said Kost will be on the lookout for vehicles illegally parked in spots reserved for those with disability parking privileges. Glasspool said Kost also will issue citations for the violation.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or

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