Bethlehem Press

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Residents upset over smoking fire pits

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by DOROTHY PYLES Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Even though the summer has unofficially come to end and most people celebrated their final barbeque over the Labor Day holiday, open flames and grilling was the largest issue at the Sept. 4 Fountain Hill Council meeting.

Several Fountain Hill residents voiced their concerns about allowing the use of outdoor fire pits. While this topic was already on the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting under the topic "Amending Chapter 7 to specifically allow the use of outdoor grills, Ordinance #779," it was brought up in the beginning of the meeting during the open floor forum.

Resident Peter Crownwell, of 407 Delaware Ave., raised the issue of air pollution stemming from the open burning of wood and other, non-permitted material in fire pits.

Council member Larry Rapp responded, "Residents cannot have open flames without the approval of the fire chief" Rapp said.

Councilman Norman Blatt Jr. said, "The proposed amendment is simply to clarify that if a family wants to use a gas grill or a charcoal grill that is all right."

Delicia Nahman of 624 Leckauwecki St. asked for clarification of the ordinance which directly deals with the issue of open flames and in particular, fire pits, the smoke which billows out of them and how the ordinance is enforced.

"If the fireplaces or fire pits are a legal product the council will not interfere with that," Blatt responded.

Council has agreed to reevaluate Ordinance #779 when the Ordinance Committee meets later this month.

"I hear this issue a lot more at council meetings than I do through calls," said Chief of Police Ed Bachert.

Council, as well as Bachert, urge residents to contact the Fountain Hill Police or Fire Department if they feel someone might be creating a fire hazard or has an open flame from which smoke is entering the air in abundance.

Until the Ordinance Committee meets to discuss the issue, residents are permitted to have charcoal and gas grills as well as the store bought fire pits, as long the pits are not considered a fire hazard.

If residents are unsure, they should contact the Fountain Hill Fire Company with questions.

In other business, Bob Erland, vice president of St. Luke's University Hospital, announced that smoking on the hospital premises by employees has been curtailed. St. Luke's will continue to enforce the no smoking policy and if employees are viewed smoking on the property, they are subject to disciplinary action or to littering fines.

Chief Bachert would also like Fountain Hill residents to be aware of a prescription drug disposal on Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The drug drop-off will be held at police headquarters, 941 Long St.

Another issue also came up for review and will be decided upon in the upcoming year. Susan Monahan of 952 Delaware Ave. discussed her concerns about trash disposal. She said she is a single person and does not create as much trash as a family of four would. She does not understand why she has to be held financially responsible for the same disposal fee. She was told that the borough's disposal contract is ending next year and will be reviewed at that time.