New Fire codes coming to Black Forest as rebuilding efforts progress
As new construction continues after the destructive wildfire, the Black Forest Fire District has passed new fire codes for those rebuilding which now go to county commissioners for final approval.
The codes would apply only to new construction and require fire resistant siding and decks (fire resistant roofs were already required), ban plastic culverts (which melted during the fire and trapped fire trucks) and require people with large homes (in the 4,000 square-foot range) to pay a one-time $5,600 fee if they opt not to get a sprinkler system or cistern.
Stafford Brochu has finished the first building since the fire, a workshop on his property on Crump Road. Construction on his house is now underway and is expected to be done by February.
"Today we're pouring the footers and that's the basis for the concrete walls," said Brochu, as crews poured cement.
He said he is planning to use fire-proof materials for his siding and decks, but decided not to get a sprinkler system or cistern.
"In the event of a fire, the fire department shuts off the water so what good is water in a cistern if you can't get to it?" he asked.
Brochu also isn't thrilled with the idea of a $5,600 fee.
"It would help them buy new equipment, but it's not going to shorten the amount of time to get to the fire," Brochu said.
Fire Chief Bob Harvey says the money would be used to upgrade fire tankers.
"It would allow us to upsize the tenders we have or even have the latitude to have a tender designated driver," Harvey said. "So it could actually have an improved response capability for the department."
Harvey said estimates from five different home building contractors show that it will cost about an extra $2,200 for homeowners to use fire resistant siding and decks.
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