[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Franklin Park 11-20-2013 by Ord. No. 608-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fire prevention — See Ch. 122.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- An outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes.
- OPEN BURNING
- The burning of materials wherein products of combustion are emitted directly into the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber. Open burning does not include road flares, smudgepots and similar devices associated with safety or occupational uses typically considered open flames, recreational fires or use of portable outdoor fireplaces. For the purpose of this definition, a chamber shall be regarded as enclosed when, during the time combustion occurs, only apertures, ducts, stacks, flues or chimneys necessary to provide combustion air and permit the escape of exhaust gas are open.
- A corporation, firm, partnership, association, organization, trust and any other group acting as a unit, or a person who has legal title to any structure or premises with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, and shall include the duly authorized agent or attorney, a purchaser, devisee, fiduciary and any person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises in question.
- Any individual, heirs, executors, administrators or assigns, and also includes a firm, partnership or corporation, its or their successors or assigns, or the agent of any of the aforesaid.
- PORTABLE OUTDOOR FIREPLACE
- A portable, outdoor, solid-fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay or other noncombustible material. A portable outdoor fireplace may be open in design or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and a short chimney or chimney opening at the top.
- RECREATIONAL FIRE
- An outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit and has a total fuel area of three feet or less in diameter and two feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.
No person shall burn any material of any kind in the Borough, except as authorized by the chapter or as authorized pursuant to a valid permit issued by the Allegheny County Health Department pursuant to county ordinances and regulations.
Subject to this chapter, an adult property owner or other adult authorized by the property owner may conduct or allow an open burn on his or her property solely for the following purposes:
Permit requirements. Except for portable grills/barbecues, before a property owner may allow open burning on his or her property, the property owner shall apply to have the proposed site inspected and approved by the Fire Official or Assistant Fire Official. A person must allow at least 10 days for the application to be reviewed and the site inspected. Upon verification that the proposed device and location comply with this chapter, the Fire Official shall approve the application. The Fire Official shall provide written explanation for denying an application.
Upon approval of the application, the person is free to obtain from the Borough Fire Official, at a fee as set by resolution of Borough Council, at least three days in advance, an open burn permit generally authorizing the use of the proposed fire pit or other noncombustible receptacle, containment or device. The Fire Official shall maintain a register/log of all open fire permits issued under this chapter, reflecting the property address, date of issuance, type of device, and location on the property for which it was approved.
A new application and site inspection shall be required if the device or location on the property is changed. All permits are also subject to future ordinance amendments. No vested or "grandfathered" rights shall be conferred in any use/location/device approved or permitted hereunder, and any permits used hereunder shall automatically expire if the location, the device or the open burning becomes noncompliant or prohibited under any future federal, state, county or local law, regulation or ordinance, including any duly enacted amendments hereto.
For warmth of outdoor work crews. Open fires for outdoor work crews (allowed only at temperatures below 40º F.) may be conducted in noncombustible containers no larger than a fifty-five-gallon drum, with all combustible material and the flame itself at all times completely confined within the container and with only one open fire per work crew.
Other authorized open fires. All other open fires authorized under this chapter must be contained within one of the following authorized containers: in a grill, barbecue, fireplace or chiminea. All authorized containers herein must include a lid or chimney to be exempt from requiring a permit.
Portable grills/barbecues designed for and used strictly for cooking only shall, while in use, be no less than five feet from a house, structure and/or combustible material, as well as 25 feet from a roadway, utility and/or property line unless otherwise approved by the Fire Official or Assistant Fire Official. No permit is required for portable grills/barbecues.
Permanently constructed (nonportable) outdoor stoves, ovens, grills, barbecues and fireplaces used strictly for cooking shall be no less than five feet from a house, structure and/or combustible material, as well as 25 feet from a roadway, utility and/or property line, unless otherwise approved by the Fire Official or Assistant Fire Official.
Other open burning shall be maintained only in an authorized container which, unless otherwise approved by the Fire Official, shall be located not less than 25 feet from the nearest house, structure, roadway, property line, utility, tree and/or other combustible material.
Acceptable and prohibited materials.
Acceptable materials. All open burning authorized by this chapter shall be conducted using only charcoal; natural gas or other clean-burning fuel; dry, clean logs, twigs; or other untreated wood products. Only smokeless fuels or small kindling such as sticks and newspaper may be used to start a fire.
Prohibited materials. The use of any of the following material(s) to start or maintain a fire is strictly prohibited: paints; painted or chemically treated woods; railroad ties; telephone poles; plastics; cardboard boxes, paper or paper products; garbage or any other household or residential wastes; oil; grease; gasoline; asphalt products or any other petroleum products; rubber; tires; tar or tar paper; dead animals; animal or human waste; pathogenic waste; insulated wire; toxic or noxious materials; cloth; leaves; green yard waste; or any other materials that tend to cause excessive smoke or malodorous emissions or excessive odor.
Maximum size. In all cases, the fire shall be of such size that the combustible material and flame are contained completely within the perimeter of the authorized containment receptacle, and in no case may the combustible material and flame be greater than nine square feet (three feet by three feet) in area or in excess of two feet in height above the receptacle.
No excessive smoke, odor or malodorous emissions. No person shall allow or maintain a fire which creates excessive smoke, excessive odor, or malodorous emissions. Smoke and odors shall be considered excessive if they contribute more than negligible amounts of air contaminants perceptible beyond the property line of the source of the fire.
Adult supervision, control and extinguishment. Only an adult property owner or other adult authorized by the property owner shall authorize or conduct an open burn. The adult property owner or other adult authorized by the property owner to conduct such a fire shall, at all times, be present and shall tend to the fire from the time it is lit through the time of total extinguishment. Adequate means to control and extinguish the open burn shall be readily available at all times during any burning. Suitable covering or means of disposal of ashes shall be provided to prevent them from becoming airborne. The adult property owner or other authorized adult supervising the fire shall be responsible to assure that all aspects of the fire comply with this chapter and shall assure that the fire is completely extinguished before that person leaves the site. Immediately upon the discovery of an unauthorized or noncompliant fire or burning, the property owner or other person responsible for the property on which such burning occurs shall immediately extinguish, or cause the extinguishment of, such burning. Proof that the defendant in any enforcement action owns or controls the property on which open burning occurs shall be prima facie evidence that such person has conducted, or allowed to be conducted, such open burning.
A police officer, Fire Official, Assistant Fire Official, Building Inspector/Zoning Officer, or other duly authorized law or code enforcement officer of the Borough of Franklin Park may, upon investigation, order that any fire be immediately extinguished, abated, diminished or corrected (in his or her sole discretion) if, in the officer's sole judgment, the fire:
Is emitting excessive smoke, excessive odor or malodorous emissions;
Contains prohibited materials or is using prohibited materials or inadequate containment device or mechanism;
Is in a prohibited location or of a prohibited size;
Is emitting sparks or hot ashes that may pose a threat to nearby structures, trees, other combustible materials or to the safety of persons or property; or
Where its size, materials, containment, location, emissions, proximity to structures, trees, other combustible materials, conduct of participants, weather conditions (including but not limited to wind, drought, dry or other conditions) or air quality, or other circumstances are such that continuation of the fire poses a risk of harm to persons or property.
No person shall allow, authorize, conduct or participate in any open burning except in compliance with this chapter.
No person shall refuse to comply immediately and fully with any order of a Franklin Park Borough police officer, Fire Official, Assistant Fire Official, or other duly authorized law enforcement officer or code official to contain, control, correct or extinguish any fire or open burn.
Any and all Borough police officers are hereby charged with the responsibility of issuing warnings or citations, as merited, for all violations of this chapter.
Enforcement shall be by action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
A separate offense shall arise for each day or portion of a day in which a violation is found to exist or for each section of the chapter which is found to have been violated. In the event that such claims for fines and penalties exceed the monetary jurisdiction of a Magisterial District Judge as set forth in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1515(a) (relating to jurisdiction and venue), exclusive of interest, costs or other fees, the Borough may bring such action in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas or may, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 1515(a), waive that portion of fines or penalties that exceed the monetary jurisdictional limits so as to bring the matter within the monetary jurisdiction of the Magisterial District Judge.
In addition to or in lieu of enforcement of this chapter as a summary offense, the Borough may enforce this chapter through an action in equity brought in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter or fails to comply therewith or with any of the requirements thereof, upon conviction thereof in an action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 plus costs, including reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the Borough, and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment to the extent permitted by law for the punishment of summary offenses. A separate offense shall arise for each day or portion thereof in which a violation of this chapter is found to exist or for each section of this chapter found to have been violated. The Borough may also commence appropriate actions in equity or other to prevent, restrain, correct, enjoin, or abate violations of this chapter. All fines and penalties collected for violation of this chapter shall be paid to the Borough Treasurer. The initial determination of ordinance violation is hereby delegated to the Borough Manager, the Police Department, the Borough Staff, the Borough Building Inspector/Zoning Officer, the authorized designee of the Borough Manager and to any other officer or agent that the Borough Manager or the Borough Council shall deem appropriate.