Illegal burning is on the rise in the city of Erie

Local News

Illegal burning is on the rise here in the city of Erie.

This is causing the fire inspector to take a deeper look at what can be done to get this dangerous issue under control.

Here is a look at what changes could be coming.

City residents are raising concerns over what is bringing the Erie Fire Department to their neighborhood.

“I was smelling smoke sufficient to think there was a fire in my house. No it wasn’t, it was burning again. My neighbors around the corner in their yard. Such that I could see the smoke going across my street to the other side of my street,” said Feda Tepfer, Erie Resident.

The only thing that is legal to burn in the City of Erie is dry seasoned fire wood. Lately however, that has not been the cause.

According to the chief fire inspector, this year alone the city has responded to more than 160 illegal burnings.

One of those fires has led to an assault between neighbors.

“One person that doesn’t follow the burning regulations could ruin a neighborhood. We have had a lot of complaints from neighbors that say I can’t open my windows on a hot day because my neighbor is burning and I don’t have air conditioning. So what we hope to do is create some stricter fines that will hopefully curb that behavior,” said Darren Hart, Chief Fire Inspector for the Erie Fire Department.

The illegal burning issues motivates fire officials to ask city council to consider reevaluating ordinances.

“We are looking to possibly have some times for people to burn. We are also looking to change some of the ordinances just to tighten up some of the language so people know exactly what they’re allowed to burn. We are also looking to up some fines for people who are repeat offenders in the future,” said Hart.

This is something council members are open to look into.

“When that ordinance does come out completely, it will make a whole lot more sense for everybody and again if we think about the people next to us we are going to be a whole lot better off,” said Ed Brzezinski, Erie City Councilman.

The fire department’s goal is to have the ordinance and changes in place by 2021.

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