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No favoritism at fire district
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 13:39

The Camp Verde Fire District is defending itself against any allegations that it hasn’t been properly enforcing fire codes.

The issue grew out of the controversy surrounding the old Zellner wood yard, now known as Canyon Wood Supply.

Some neighbors in the area have complained that, even though the wood yard was there first and grandfathered into what became a residential area, it has created a safety hazard and detracted from the quality of life in the neighborhood.

Citing claims that the wood yard poses an “extreme fire danger” and that the fire district isn’t enforcing the “minimum codes” at the property that have surfaced in various opinion letters in the local media, CVFD Spokeswoman Barbara Rice said the district finally felt the need to respond.

Rice said that inspectors have been following the guidelines spelled out in the fire codes adopted by the district, but that in a small town like Camp Verde, it’s not always possible to make sure everything is 100 percent to the letter.

Rice compared the situation to a restaurant that wasn’t entirely compliant with a local fire code, but that the district has been working with the business owners to bring it up to an acceptable standard of safety.

“I’m not just going to go in there and tell them to close their doors,” Rice said. “We’re not trying to close down businesses. As long as progress is being made, [the wood yard] is like any other business in a bad situation.”
Rice said that the district follows up on every complaint a member of the public makes about the wood yard out of an obligation to ensure public safety.

As far as code enforcement at the wood yard is concerned, Rice said the district is requiring the business to reduce the size of and increase the space between the wood yard’s piles of wood, because of a lack of water available to fight a fire on the property.

The district also confirmed that a great deal of waste debris has been cleaned from the ground where it could have been a potential fire hazard.

“Camp Verde Fire District’s policy does not include selective or preferential code enforcement,” according to a statement issued by the district last week. “Every member of our commercial community will be treated fairly and we will work with them to ensure they are compliant with the fire codes.”

In the meantime, the fire district will continue working to make the wood yard and surrounding neighborhood safe from fires.
“Life safety is our number one priority,” Rice said


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