The Athens City Council Monday, approved on first reading an ordinance adopting the International Fire Code.

“We are proposing to repeal the existing ordinances, retain the useful wording in them and adopt the International Fire Code,” Athens Fire Chief Dan Barnes said. The resulting document will be known as the Fire Code of the City of Athens.

The new version of the code establishes regulations for “governing the safe-guarding and life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion”. The code shall be enforced by the Athens Fire Department, under the supervision of the fire chief. The chief, in turn, shall appoint a Fire Marshall who will investigate the origin and cause of blazes in the city.

The ordinance also authorizes the establishment of an outdoor burning police for the city. A non-refundable permit fee of $50 will be charged by the city for the authorization of sanctioned outdoor burning. Before conducting the burn, the landowner must provide proof of general liability insurance in the minimum of $100,000 and $50,000 for fire damage coverage.

The fire department will not stand to insure safety during the permitted burning process. If complaints arise due to the fire, the department is authorized to cancel the permit and cause the fire to be extinguished.

Fines for violation of the outdoor burning ordinance can range from not less than $5 and not more than $2,000. Extreme cases could result in jail time not to exceed 90 days confinement.

The burn area must be at least 300 feet from any buildings or structures with adequate fire breaks and water available. Weather conditions must be favorable, with winds not to exceed 20 miles per hours. Burns will be permitted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. only.

The code prohibits following too closely to the fire apparatus during an emergency situation. Citizens are not permitted to follow within 250 feet of the moving vehicle, or to park less than 250 feet from the scene of the emergency.

A second reading and final reading of the ordinance is set for Nov. 12.

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