Latrobe sets fine for violating city fire pit regulations | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Latrobe sets fine for violating city fire pit regulations

Jeff Himler
1533577_web1_gtr-web-LatOffice-092617
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review

Residents who violate Latrobe’s fire pit ordinance will face a $50 fine under an amended version of the law approved at council’s Monday meeting.

The fine and related penalty provisions provide some teeth for city police, the city manager or code enforcement officer Ann Powell to enforce restrictions on small recreational fires set forth when the ordinance originally was approved 2½ years ago. “We didn’t have a penalty phase” in the initial ordinance, Powell noted.

Residents must apply to the city for a permit, which costs $15, to have an approved fire pit on their property. The permit can be renewed after five years, but it may be revoked after three violations.

“We don’t want to punish the people who are doing the right thing because of a few people who are doing the wrong thing,” Mayor Rosie Wolford said of fire pit enforcement in the city.

Under the provisions of the amendment, a resident has five days to pay the fine upon notice of a violation. The resident can appeal the fine to council within the same period but still must pay the $50 upfront.

City police and fire officials have always had the power to order a recreational fire to be abated or extinguished if it is deemed a nuisance.

According to the city’s online permit application, a fire pit must be no larger than 4 feet in diameter or 13 square feet, and it can’t be placed within 15 feet of a property line, structure, road, tree or other combustible material. That distance can be as little as 10 feet if the fire is fueled by propane, natural gas or charcoal briquettes in a commercially produced, non-combustible enclosure meeting Underwriters Laboratory standards.

Only wood or clean-burning fossil fuels may be used in a fire pit — to cook, create warmth or for ceremonial purposes — Latrobe fire Chief John Brasile has noted. He said some people have tried to burn prohibited materials such as grass and plastic.

Brasile said any citizen who sees a suspected violation of the recreational fire ordinance should contact 911 so the incident can be documented and city police and firefighters can respond.

He pointed out that, under illegal burning regulations, the city could have chosen to assess a fine of up to $600 for a fire pit violation.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.