Friday, August 22 2014 5:29 AM EDT2014-08-22 09:29:14 GMT
The streets of Ferguson have been peaceful for another night, as protests and tensions have been subsiding in the St. Louis suburb where unrest had erupted for several nights after a white police officer fatally...More >>
The streets of Ferguson were peaceful for another night, as protests and tensions were subsiding in the St. Louis suburb where unrest had erupted after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.More >>
New rules are in the works which could mean an end to the Lawrence tradition of porch couches.
Couches sitting on porches are a usual sighting around college campuses, but fire officials said they are a hazard and they want them gone.
"It's the first major step in adopting the ordinance, but there's still a second reading that's required to get it fully passed," said Division Chief James King.
The new Lawrence law is almost a done deal, which means seeing sofas and chairs or any indoor furniture outdoors should soon be a thing of the past.
"It's a significant fire problem. It promotes very rapid fire growth and oftentimes it goes undetected until it's too late," King said.
The fire department pushed for the Lawrence City Commission to pass an ordinance after seeing 10 fires in six years linked to sofas on porches with five in just the last two years.
"We are trying to get out ahead of the curve, we've been fortunate with only some serious injuries in some of these fires and no fatalities," King said.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about the extra precautions.
"I still feel if I'm careful it shouldn't matter if couches are out there. It's your personal responsibility," said student Daniel Collins.
"I think it seems a little ridiculous because houses are made of wood anyways. If someone put something that could potentially start a fire out there, the house is going to catch fire anyway," said student Loren Richter.
Some students feel the law is unfair and targeting them, but it's the landlord who will be fined if their tenants don't comply. They seem to be handling the news a little better than those looking to lounge outdoors.
"It seems to me that if it's a fire problem it needs to be addressed. From a landlord's point of view, that will be one less thing we have to throw away because they almost always leave the couches when they move," said landlord Dave Hamill.
If the ordinance passes, the city will have a grace period to educate landlords and give tenants a chance to get rid of the furniture. After that, fines of $100 per day could be enforced.
There is a similar rule in Columbia, MO. It has an aesthetics ordinance that bans leaving indoor furniture outside for longer than 48 hours.
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