String of Fires in Big Spring Neighborhood Leaves Fire Officials Suspicious 1/29/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
January 29, 2013
Big Spring - The Big Spring Fire Department is investigating a string of fires in one neighborhood as possible arson. But a criminal isn't their only concern. The neighborhood is also a major fire hazard.
You can hear the howling of the wind throughout town and see the haze it has brought to the skyline.
It is days like these that put the big spring fire department on edge.
"We have a lot of high wind warnings today and tomorrow. It's not going anywhere as we get into the spring with it being dry and more wind. That's a terrible combination with this fuel load," Big Spring Fire Marshal Carl Condray said.
He says during an investigation of recent outbreak of small grassfires in the North West side of town, he noticed a much bigger problem. Neglected properties with high grass, the perfect fuel for a grass fire.
"You've got dry grass and weeds. This is mostly in vacant lots and abandoned buildings and people aren't maintaining their property," Condray said.
So who is responsible for property maintenance? The Code Enforcement Office of Big Spring says ultimately, it's up to the property owner.
However, according to a city ordinance, a person can be issued a ticket for grass over 12 inches.
Condray says in extreme cases the city will get involved. But since the city is short staffed right now, they are asking all citizens to take care of it themselves and save the city a trip.
"The city is strapped labor wise. We have a lot they'd like to be doing and to take time and crews away from doing that to mow someone's lawn is unreasonable," Condray said.
He says if people take pride in Big Spring, it'll make everyone's jobs a lot easier
Fire officials will continue to investigate if this fire was intentional or just an accident.
If you are cited for grass taller than 12 inches in Big Spring, you could face a fine up to $500.