New ordinance to reduce couch fires


Map of furniture-related fires in Chico. Photo courtesy of Chico Fire Department.

Map of furniture related fires in Chico. Provided by Chico Fire Department.
Map of furniture-related fires in Chico. Photo courtesy of Chico Fire Department.

Chico City Council passed a new city ordinance proposed by the Chico Fire Department that could reduce the amount of couch and furniture-related fires. The ordinance bans residents and Chico State students alike from having any indoor furniture placed on their porch or in front of their residence.

“The fire department has made a conscientious effort to focus our efforts on community risk reduction,” said Bill Hack, Chico Fire Division Chief of Operations. “Our Community Risk Reduction Division has identified the reckless burning of a combustible furniture is, in fact, a significant problem in Chico.”

During the last 12 months, Chico has had 218 intentionally-caused fires, 124 of which were related to couches set on fire. To enforce this, the fire department is implementing a more educational process by providing information to violators about the ordinance. After several violations, residents will be administered citations.

In comparison, David Zaniboni, Public Information Officer for Santa Barbara Fire, said that areas surrounding UC Santa Barbara, including Isla Vista, has reduced its numbers from 200 in previous years to 12 in 2014. Both the fire and police departments implemented a poster prevention program that highlights the consequences of starting couch fires.

This is now the second city-passed ordinance this semester that directly affects college students, the first being the noise ordinance in September. According to Chief Hack, the ordinance will take effect immediately.

Michael Catelli can be reached at [email protected] or @michaelcatelli on Twitter.