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S. JORDAN, RIVERTON WILL TRY TO RECOUP COST OF SOME FIRES

SHARE S. JORDAN, RIVERTON WILL TRY TO RECOUP COST OF SOME FIRES

South Jordan and Riverton are joining Salt Lake City and County in attempting recovery of firefighting costs associated with negligently caused fires.

Tuesday night, South Jordan's City Council adopted an ordinance patterned after Salt Lake's ordinance adopted earlier this year. While the primary focus is on fires caused by illegal fireworks, the statute also allows the city to try recovering costs for other kinds of fires.Riverton's council delayed formal adoption at Tuesday's meeting. The council is concerned about using the term "negligent" in the ordinance, saying it may be too broad for what the city wants to accomplish. The council said the ordinance is not intended to punish people who are clearly the victims of accidental fires. The council wants to recover costs in instances where the fire is caused by illegal activity or unreasonable negligence.

The Riverton ordinance will be revised to specifically address fires caused by fireworks, legal or illegal. The term "reckless" will be used as the determining factor in deciding whether to pursue cost recovery for other kinds of fires.

South Jordan Councilman Bob Mascaro requested the council consider the ordinance to discourage illegal fireworks use in the city.

"On any given morning I find between six and 50 used bottle rockets that have landed on my property. It causes a lot of sleepless nights." Mascaro said he hopes the ordinance receives maximum enforcement.

The ordinances contain a procedure for determining fire causes and billing those responsible, as well as an appeals procedure for those challenging the assessment, including filing suit in state district court.

In addition to being billed for firefighting costs, those determined responsible could also be cited under other ordinances if the activity responsible for the fire is determined to be illegal.