Chesterton Tribune

Burns Harbor looks to prevent tragedies from quick burning home supports

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A possible ordinance change making it safer for firefighters responding to structures built with pre-manufactured I-beams will be discussed Monday by the Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the town hall, 1240 N. Boo Rd.

Dec. 30 a Burns Harbor home burned doing $230,000 in damage to the structure and contents. A floor supported with I-beams made of compressed wood and glue caved in when a firefighter stepped on it even though water was put on the blaze about 12 minutes after receiving the call.

Fire chief Bill Arney said although pre-manufactured beams offer more rigidity than conventional lumber, the glued beams burn almost three times as fast as solid wood posing a danger for unsuspecting firefighters.

Last month Arney said some fire departments are addressing the problem by requiring that a small diamond medallion be located at the roof peak to warn firefighters that a structure is built using floor joists made of pre-manufactured beams; a person filing for a building permit could be required to disclose glued joists will be used, and an occupancy permit couldn't be issued until the medallion is in place.

In other business, as-builts for The Village in Burns Harbor subdivision will be discussed, and commission officers and staff will report as necessary. No preliminary or public hearings are scheduled. The public may address the commission at the meeting's conclusion under audience participation.


Posted 3/4/2011