Lehigh Valley

Whitehall Township approves Fire Safety Ordinance

WHITEHALL, Pa. - The Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance requiring certain structures in the township to have a key lock box, or Knox box, at its Monday meeting.

Whitehall Township Fire Chief David Nelson said that the ordinance will require the Knox Boxes to be placed within six feet of the building’s front door for easy access to the structure in case of a fire emergency. Nelson said that currently tenants place the Knox Boxes wherever they choose.

 In other news, the board tabled an ordinance that would prohibit open burning in the township, except in cases where a person is cooking or keeping themselves warm.

Fire Chief Nelson said that while the International Fire Code prohibits open burning, the township currently has no specific regulation on the books to enforce the rule.

Township Mayor Edward Hozza Jr. also said that the state DEP bans open burning.

The board expressed reservations about passing the ordinance, with several board members saying they wanted several issues clarified before a final vote. Board Member Jeffrey Dutt said that with “so many” fire pits in the township, enforcement of the ordinance would be difficult.

Dutt also asked fire Chief Nelson about exactly what types of open pits would be allowed or prohibited under the ordinance. Dutt asked, for example, whether outside brick fireplaces and open grills with charcoal would be permitted.

Board President Phillips Armstrong also questioned whether open pits using propane would be allowed under the proposed rule. Armstrong said that the board should table the vote until next month’s meeting so that these issues can be ironed out.

Board Vice-President Dennis Hower asked fire Chief Nelson how many fires in the township have been started due to open fires. Nelson said that he did not have that information on hand.

Mayor Hozza, in his report toward the end of the meeting, said that although a draft of the township’s budget is not due until Sunday, Oct. 15, a copy will be delivered to board members for review the preceding Friday.

Hozza said that hearings on the budget will be held the last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the month.

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