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Pending burn ordinance a hot issue at latest Big Run Council meeting

September 17, 2012

The Big Run Volunteer Fire Department firehall. (Spirit file photo)

BIG RUN — Several residents of Big Run Borough shared their concerns regarding the lack of a burn ordinance in the borough at Monday's council meeting.

"We are aware as to why the majority of people are here, due to the burning problem throughout the borough," said Joe Buterbaugh, mayor of Big Run Borough.

Nick Lantz, Big Run Council president, said the borough can't enforce any kind of illegal burning without a burning ordinance in place.
"The problems that Big Run residents and council have with people who burn on their property are going to be addressed as soon as possible," Lantz said.

Buterbaugh said the borough has several options to explore before officials will finalize a proposed ordinance.

Several residents, who wished to remain anonymous, said they can't open the windows in their homes during the summer because of the materials that are being burned by other residents.

"A week ago, I came home, and my neighbor had lit a fire that had flames 50 feet high in the air," a resident said.

Stan Derise, Big Run Fire Department chief and member of Big Run Borough Council, said if someone doesn't call 911 to report that a fire is out of control, there's not much that can be done regarding the situation.
"If you're concerned that a fire is dangerously out of control, call 911, and they'll page me. I'll come over and check into it and have the fire company put it out," he said.

Marlin Rearick, Big Run Borough maintenance man, cautioned the members of council not to go overboard when writing the ordinance.

"People burn to keep their property clean, and not every fire is a bad fire; many are set for good reasons," he said.

Another resident asked if there was an ordinance that Big Run residents must have a garbage hauler.

Rick Rinehart, council member, said he would like to see a mandatory garbage pickup ordinance enacted.

Lantz said mandatory garbage pickup will not eliminate burning in the borough.

Buterbaugh said there have always been burn barrels in the borough, but just more recently, people have moved into the borough and have no consideration for anyone but themselves when it comes to offensive-smelling fires.

The Big Run Code Enforcement Officer Doug Brosius said he has been to the property where much of the burning has taken place to speak with the resident.

Council plans to hold a meeting in the future to come up with a burn ordinance.

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