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
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
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.
•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
•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.