By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Multiple fires at a local scrapyard sparked Fire Chief Joseph Murray’s intent to strengthen the city’s fire watch ordinance, especially after repeated fires damaged Fire Department equipment.
Currently, the owner or operator of a business would be required to utilize a “fire watch” when hazardous conditions are present or when the fire protection system is inoperable or defective. Hazardous conditions include “hot works,” or during demolition or construction.
“Hot works” are any process that involves heat, sparks or flames, and could be caused by processes like welding, cutting, grinding, soldering, and abrasive blasting.
A “fire watch” is a lookout person assigned to watch an area from a vantage point to spot smoke or flames from combustion.
Recently, repeated fires at Ferrous Processing and Trading, 3651 Wyoming Ave., prompted the tightening of the ordinance, since the business was not required to post a watch under the existing ordinance.
Murray hopes that by expanding the fire watch ordinance, fire frequency will be reduced at the scrap yard and similar sites, which have the potential to damage property and endanger lives.
Violation of the ordinance would be a civil infraction with a $2,500 fine, increasing to $5,000 for repeat offenders.