House debates state fire code amendments

Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 4:45 p.m. MST

Holiday fireworks are now selling at a TNT fireworks stand in Salt Lake County Thursday, June 28, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill intended to allow local fire officials to ban firework usage during hazardous conditions passed Monday in the House, but not before being amended.

HB217, sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan, would allow local fire officials to ban ignition sources such as campfires and sky lanterns, in addition to fireworks, in areas that have been determined as hazardous. 

The House passed an amendment proposed by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, to permit smaller counties to modify the state fire code within unincorporated areas. Dunnigan opposed the amendment.

“There are many situations in rural counties that deal with building codes, fire codes and energy codes that are not conducive to how we try to live in rural Utah,” Noel said. “Do you feel that this code would protect (residents) in Kane, Garfield, Beaver, San Juan (counties) from tsunamis that might come into those areas?”  

A handful of legislators spoke in opposition to the amendment.

“If we create a situation where different jurisdictions are writing their own code, we also open a Pandora’s box for them to start interpreting the code in any way they want,” Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said.

Ultimately, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House, 65-8. It will go to the Senate for further discussion.

In addition to fire code modification, HB217 updates national building codes and energy codes. It requires evacuation fire drills for secondary schools and modifies requirements for pump and riser rooms, solar panels and automatic sprinkler systems.

Rachel Lowry

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