Westfield Cancels Firework’s Show and Prohibits Personal Fireworks

WESTFIELD, Ind.—Today, Mayor Andy Cook signed an emergency declaration prohibiting opening burning and all fireworks in the City of Westfield.  This declaration is on the heels of Hamilton County’s declaration earlier today.  With dry conditions, fireworks are a danger to public safety.  The fire department has already seen a 400 percent increase in outside fires this year.  

“We’ve had an dramatic increase in fires, no rain, and our water system is strained,” said Mayor Andy Cook.  We have an obligation to keep the public safe and that’s what we’re doing.”

With the public’s safety in mind, this declaration prohibits all fireworks including sparklers, bottle rockets, smoke grenades, etc.  Indiana State law provides for violations of disaster declarations to be punishable by a class B misdemeanor.  The declaration is in effect for seven days.   

In addition to the ban of personal fireworks, the City has also cancelled all public firework’s displays.  While the Westfield Rocks the Fourth will continue, the fireworks show has been cancelled.

The City is urging residents to visit the City’s Facebook page or website (www.westfield.in.gov) for any further updates.

DECLARATION BY THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF WESTFIELD

DECLARING AN EMERGENCY CAUSED BY DROUGHT AND

PROHIBITING OPEN BURNING AND THE USE OF FIREWORKS

            WHEREAS, the General Assembly of the State of Indiana has passed the Emergency Management and Disaster Law which is codified at Indiana Code 10-14-3-1 (“the Disaster Law”); and,

WHEREAS, the term “disaster” is defined to include drought under Indiana Code 10-14-3-1(b)(12); and,

WHEREAS, the City of Westfield is a political subdivision whose executive is the Mayor of the City pursuant to Indiana Code 10-14-3-7; and,

WHEREAS, Indiana Code 10-14-3-7(a), authorizes the executive of a political subdivision to take actions to protect, prevent, or mitigate where possible, and to preserve the lives and property of the people of the State; and,

WHEREAS, the prolonged lack of rain and excessive heat within the City of Westfield and Washington Township, has produced drought conditions within the City of Westfield, which have resulted in all plant life, buildings, structures, and other property within the Township being extremely susceptible to igniting from sources of heat which have been traditionally acceptable by the City, such as camp fires, open flames, and fireworks; and,

WHEREAS, Indiana Code 10-14-3-8, establishes the only exceptions to the powers granted to a political subdivision during a declared disaster.

Therefore, I, J. Andrew Cook, as Mayor of the City of Westfield pursuant to the Disaster Law proclaim as follows:

  1. As of time of this Declaration, an emergency disaster exists within the City of Westfield because of the drought conditions which exist.
  1. In order, to the extent possible, to protect the lives and property of the people of the City of Westfield, I order that the following acts are prohibited within the City:
  1. No person shall cause, permit, or allow open burning on any property located within the City.
  1. No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged any fireworks as defined in Indiana Code 22-11-14.
  1. No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged into the air or ground at any location within the City, any device or mechanism which has an open flame attached or included as any part of the device.
  1. This Declaration shall not prohibit a public fireworks display which is:
  1. Sponsored, endorsed, and permitted by the City.
  1. The Fire Chief of the City determines the City has adequate firemen, adequate fire trucks, and other equipment at the site of the fireworks display to immediately suppress any fire resulting from the fireworks.
  1. Approved by the Fire Chief of the City.
  1. Pursuant to Indiana Code 10-14-3-24, all law enforcement officers of the State of Indiana and the political subdivisions within the State may enforce the terms and conditions of this Declaration.
  1. Pursuant to Indiana Code 10-14-3-34, any person who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly violates this Declaration commits a Class B Misdemeanor and may be fined and/or imprisoned pursuant to law.
  1. This Declaration shall remain in full force and effect for seven (_7_) calendar days from the date of this Declaration, unless extended by the Westfield Common Council.

ALL OF WHICH IS DECLARED by J. Andrew Cook, Mayor of the City of Westfield,

this 29 day of June, 2012, at 3:00p.m.

CITY OF WESTFIELD, INDIANA

J. Andrew Cook, Mayor of the City of Westfield, Indiana

Westfield Homeowner Lucky After Grass Fire Almost Ignites House

Here, siding from the home melted away from a fire that could have been a disaster for a Westfield homeowner.

WESTFIELD, Ind.—After today’s burn ban in Westfield, a homeowner got lucky when a unintentional grass fire almost ignited their home. At approximately 1 p.m. this afternoon, firefighters rushed to the home at 3849 Crest Point Drive. A next door neighbor and a postal employee saw flames shooting from the rear of the house, grabbed a garden hose, and began to extinguish the flames. Firefighters arrived shortly after to find the grass fire out and the next door neighbor suffering from smoke inhalation. Paramedics from the fire department treated the neighbor who was released on the scene.

“I cannot stress how important it is for people not to put out fires on their own–it’s just too dangerous,” said John Barrett spokesperson for the fire department.

With record dry weather and no rain in sight, the conditions are ripe for extremely dangerous and fast moving fires. Earlier today, Westfield joined many other Indiana cities and towns by implementing a burn ban–something that will be in effect until conditions improve. Residents can be cited by police and fined for violating these bans. In Westfield, residents are still allowed to use a grill to cook, but firefighters still urge caution.

Investigators believe today’s fire was caused by a cigarette and damage to the home is estimated at $1,000. No other injuries were reported.

Westfield Fire Chief Places Temporary Ban on Open Burning

WESTFIELD, Ind.—Because of the recent dry conditions and no significant rainfall in the forecast, Westfield Fire Chief Todd Burtron has placed a temporary ban on open burning effective immediately.  According to Indiana Fire Code 307.1.1 – The Fire Chief is authorized to require open burning be immediately discontinued if such open burning constitutes a hazardous condition.

The National Weather Service reported that in June 2012, Central Indiana set the record for the longest dry period in June.    This dry weather has caused grass, crops and leaves to dry up creating an extremely hazardous fire condition.  The current forecast does not show any relief from the dry conditions causing the hazard to become more serious.

This temporary ban of open burning is effective for the City of Westfield along with Washington Township in Hamilton County.  This ban prohibits any open burning, comfort fires, agriculture burning or similar legal fires until weather conditions improve.  Additionally, if anyone chooses to ignore this ban of open burning they will be committing Class C infraction that carries fines up to $500.00 per instance.

Chief Burtron states, “The extremely dry conditions pose a significant threat to life and property.  Extreme temperatures are expected later this week with little to no rainfall will continue to create drier conditions and more need to protect homes, families and properties from the exposure to fire.”

The open burning ban will remain in effect until the Fire Chief has lifted the Open Burning Ban.  We urge all citizens to follow this ban to protect lives and property of the Westfield community.   This burn ban does not include fireworks. However, the City of Westfield discourages the use of consumer fireworks during these dry weather conditions.  If using consumer fireworks, please use extreme caution and use in a safe and responsible manner.

Electrical Fire at Westfield Preschool Causes Scare – Children and Staff Evacuate Safely

WESTFIELD, Ind.—This morning, children and staff at the Rainbow Child Development Preschool at 17457 Gunther Boulevard had a scare when they began to smell smoke coming from an electrical room. The staff went into action, evacuating the children safely and calling 9-1-1.

“The staff and children did such a great job getting out of the building and staying away from danger,” said John Barrett spokesperson for the Westfield Fire Department. “This is exactly why we encourage all schools and daycares to plan and practice evacuation drills.”

Firefighter Josh Southerland shows children the inside of a fire truck after a small electrical fire at Rainbow Child Development Preschool.

Firefighters arrived shortly after to find light smoke in the building near an electrical room. During their search, they found a burnt phone panel in a utility room. With the fire out, they combed the building for additional fire and found nothing. Firefighters then used high speed fans to remove all the smoke from the building. And before returning to school, the children had an unexpected surprise when firefighters gave the children a tour of their fire trucks. Fire investigators estimate the damage to the building at $1,500.

Fireworks and Dry Weather Spell Danger

Since the founding of our country, fireworks have been synonymous with Independence Day celebrations.  This year is no different except here in Indiana unseasonably dry weather significantly increases the risk of fire.  While local governments are unable to prohibit the use of fireworks during evenings between June 29th and July 9th, we strongly encourage people to consider these safety tips.

  • Discharge fireworks in clear, open area
  • Never point fireworks at people or buildings
  • Retrieve all remnants to prevent smoldering fires
  • Have a hose or fire extinguisher nearby

We’d also like to encourage people to attend their community’s free 4th of July fireworks celebration.  Here in Westfield fireworks launch during the evening on July 4th from Asa Bales Park.  For more information about Westfield Rock’s the 4th celebration, please visit their website.

Hot, Dry Indiana Weather Fuels Fires

Today, Westfield firefighters had their hands full when a half-acre of land went up in flames.  Firefighters rushed to the home at 2504 West 206th Street in Westfield.  Immediately, firefighters realized they needed more help and called for additional fire trucks.  They then contained the fire–preventing its spread to the home–and extinguished it.  All this without injury to the homeowners or firefighters.  People at the home had been shooting guns when sparks from their ammunition caught the grass on fire.  A combination of these sparks, dry weather, and heat all contributed to today’s fire.

With Indiana facing below average rainfall this summer, it’s imperitive people take these precautions:

  • Place cigarette butts in metal containers.  Do not throw them on the ground or into vegetation.
  • Keep at least 18 inches between mulch beds and building materials that can burn.
  • Avoid burning on windy, dry days.  When conditions are windy or dry, it is too easy for open burning to spread out of control.
  • Do not use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids to burn brush, trash, or other waste.

*Safety Tips provided by the National Fire Protection Agency

Westfield’s New Ladder Truck Raises the Bar Higher

This week, Westfield firefighters began training with their newest tool–a 123 foot ladder truck.  With an impressive reach and the latest in safety technology, this truck will help protect the community as well as the firefighters riding in it.

The truck, manufactured by KME, can spray out an impressive 1,700 gallons of water in a minute.

The truck is specially outfitted with airbags and advanced restraint systems that protect firefighters in the event of a collision.  While airbags are common place for cars, this is entirely new technology for firefighters.  IMMI, a Westfield business and worldwide leader in advanced safety systems donated their most advanced safety equipment for this new ladder truck.  It’s a little piece of mind for those who risk their lives daily protecthing our community.

Firefighters look in awe as another firefighter climbs 123 feet to the top of the new ladder truck.

After finishing training this week, firefighters will begin using the new ladder truck to protect the community.