Couple charged with illegal burning

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 27, 2004

A Suffolk couple was cited for illegal burning after an uncontrolled trash fire caught a vacant mobile home in the 2200 block of Hosier Road on fire Wednesday.

Daisie and Bailey Hall of 2201 Hosier Road were burning trash outside their home around 4 p.m. when the fire spread to a vacant trailer on their property, said Capt. James T. Judkins, spokesman for the Suffolk Fire Department.

Damage to the building, empty for the past seven years, was $500.

Email newsletter signup

Wednesday’s fire reiterates the need for residents to adhere to the city’s open air burning regulations, said Judkins.

With more people constantly moving into the city, open burning violations have become increasingly frequent, he said.

&uot;It’s a big problem,&uot; Judkins said. &uot;People don’t seem to realize…the safety and pollution problems that open burning creates.&uot;

The fire department is going to be more aggressive in enforcing the city’s open burn policies, he added.

The city’s regulations, adopted in 1996, state that:

-No open air burning is allowed in any subdivision or where houses are less than 300 feet apart. This includes burning in a barrel.

-Burning permits may be granted on an individual basis in those areas that are traditionally rural or agricultural.

Exemptions to the policy include open fires for supervised fire-fighting training; open campfires used for recreational purposes, such as

a cookout; or for the forest management and agricultural procedures approved by the state air pollution control board.

More than likely, the Halls would have been granted a burn permit had they contacted the fire department in advance, Judkins sad. A representative from the fire department would have come out to do an on-site investigation before making a final decision.

&uot;It’s sad when a simple phone call could have gotten the permit,&uot; Judkins said. &uot;Those regulations are there for people’s safety. We’re not trying to create a hardship for anyone.&uot;

All things considered, the Halls were fortunate since the trailer was vacant and they owned it, Judkins said.

It doesn’t always happen that way, he said, recalling when a lady suffered severe burns from a similar incident.

The violation of open burn laws is a Class I misdemeanor under the state fire prevention code and punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a maximum of one year in jail.

Citizens should plan ahead and take advantage of the city’s bulk pickup service to remove yard debris, or carry the debris to the local SPSA landfill themselves for disposal. If large quantities of debris are involved, property owners should consider hiring a contractor to remove them.

For more information, call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 923-4785.