HOLLIDAYSBURG - In emergencies, dangerous structures in the borough could receive a sign to ward off trespassers and remind firefighters that saving the structure isn't worth risking their lives.
Hollidaysburg Borough fire marshal Robert Kerns, who a judge declared in 1980 an expert in fire-related matters, held up a red sign with white letters at a recent borough council meeting that he and Phoenix Volunteer Fire Company Chief Tony DiBona came up with, which reads: "Unsafe building. Do not enter. Firefighters no interior firefighting."
The fire company wants to work closely on the endeavor with Borough Manager Mark Schroyer, Kerns said.
Mirror photo by Amanda Gabeletto
Hollidaysburg Borough Council agreed at its October meeting to start a potential dangerous structure investigation on this house at 309 Pine St.
The signs would be appropriate to use in emergencies, Schroyer said Friday. A borough ordinance already in place does not include anything about signage.
No structure had received a sign yet, Kerns said Thursday.
If a sign would be placed on a structure, firefighters would only fight the fire from the outside, not the interior, because of the conditions, known and unknown, on the inside, Kerns said.
They want to "bring everybody back home safe," he said.
The signs are not known to attract arsonists, Kerns said in response to a question posed by Councilman Tim Baranik, who supported the signs idea.
Posting warning signs on structures is a common practice across the United States, Kerns said. New York places huge signs outside of structures.
Later in the meeting, council voted to start a potential dangerous structure investigation on what is believed to be an unoccupied structure at 309 Pine St.
Borough officials went through the house Friday.
Schroyer said several letters were sent to the owners, but without any response.
The owners are sisters Linda Kipp and Susan Snyder, but Kipp had been living in the home alone and her sister lived out of town.
When reached by phone, Kipp said the plan is to either fix it or tear the home down, and that process will begin this week.
The borough has several properties in mind to investigate as possible dangerous structures, Kerns said.
Council must take formal action before a structure is classified as a dangerous structure, Schroyer said.
The borough has a dangerous structure ordinance in place, and a copy of the ordinance is available on the borough's website. Details include the definition of a dangerous structure, investigation and hearing procedures and penalties.
Fines for violators can reach up to $1,000, plus court costs, and/or up to 30 days in jail.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.