Chesterton Tribune

Burns Harbor sets rules for hazardous pre-manufactured Ibeams

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New structures built with pre-manufactured I-beams, joists or headers will have to declare that on future Burns Harbor building permit applications; once built, such structures will have to display a tag on the gas/electric meter advising emergency responders those materials were used.

The Burns Harbor Town Council amended town code Wednesday on the recommendation of both fire chief Bill Arney and the Advisory Plan Commission.

Arney has said while the glued pre-manufactured beams offer more rigidity than conventional lumber, they burn three times faster and release toxic vapors posing hazards for emergency responders.

A fire in town Dec. 30 resulting in $230,000 damage to contents and structure demonstrated the problem, and Arney said federal fire code is being changed to address the situation nationwide.

Indiana will modify its own fire code and a copy of the new Burns Harbor language will be forwarded to the State Building Commissioner’s office.

The local rules apply to any new structure or accessory structure for residential and commercial construction when pre-manufactured beams are used in whole or in part. The tags, to be installed prior to occupancy and purchased for an as-yet undetermined cost from the town, will show F for floor, R for roof and RF for both so responders know how to proceed safely.

If the tags are removed, a fine of $250 for the first offense and up to $2,500 for subsequent offenses could be levied.

In March, Burns Harbor firefighters responded to 15 calls including one structure fire and spent 11 hours 41 minutes on emergency scenes. Thirty-eight firefighters trained for 228 hours over five nights and served 48 duty hours.

Call-outs were three each assists to EMS, vehicle accident and South Haven mutual aid. One call each were for mutual aid to Porter, Portage and Mittal; an investigation and a hazmat incident. Fire vehicles traveled a total 304 miles.

In other business, the council voted 4-0 with Louis Bain absent to accept the $3,751 proposal of Griffin Marketing Services as the maximum cost to duplicate and mount for display at the town hall items that formerly were exhibited at the Westchester Township History Museum’s Burns Harbor exhibit.

Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said she’d like to put a copy on the town website of the video played during the museum exhibit of the 1960s construction of Bethlehem Steel, now ArcelorMittal in Burns Harbor. Associate town attorney Charles Parkinson said the video likely is in the public domain and the town won’t use it for commercial gain, but he’ll research the request.

The council unanimously accepted a second proposal from Chester Information Technologies for Police Department software and power adaptors at $1,207. Police recently upgraded their server and hardware but Jordan said some requests are still being added.

Also Wednesday:

•The council unanimously hired Mike Chandler as a new deputy marshal. He will resign his post as patrol sergeant with another department.

•John Miller, who earlier had requested to decrease the size of the detention pond on lots 16-21 in Parkwood Estates, was not present; it was stated he’s considering another design after the Advisory Plan Commission gave the current proposal a negative recommendation.

•The council by resolution proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

•Jordan said applications are due June 30 for three, $1,000 scholarships to be awarded qualifying Burns Harbor residents to continue their education. Proof of registration at an approved school is required.

•The council voted 4-0 to move its bank accounts from FifthThird Bank to LaPorte Savings with a branch office in Chesterton. The decision was based on LaPorte’s service fees and interest rate over two other banks submitting proposals.

•The council invited youth in the community, middle school or older, to contact the town hall about shadowing a Town Council member as part of next month’s Municipal Government Week observance.

•Councilman Mike Perrine announced with regret that the Burns Harbor Lions Club and the Westport Community Club will not host an Easter egg hunt for children this year.




Posted 4/14/2011