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Residents and businesses in this small southern Utah community at the foot of Bryce Canyon National Park will get substantial reductions in their fire insurance premiums.

The fire insurance classification has been changed because culinary water problems that spanned several years apparently have been solved. The problems at times became so severe that residents had to haul their water from other communities.Commercial property owners are expected to benefit from a 28 percent reduction in fire insurance premiums while residential property owners will pay about 21 percent less for fire insurance. The new rates result from a reclassification by ISO Commercial Risk Services Inc. and will be become effective Feb. 1.

The town's fire rating was changed from Class 10 to Class 8, acceptable for all insurance companies using the ISO property insurance premium calculations, according to Mayor Bob Bradley. Class 10 has the highest fire premium rates in the insurance industry.

Tropic has more water available than in the past, and more consistent water pressure, which improves capabilities of the town's volunteer fire department. Bradley said water pressure throughout the town is now relatively consistent. There was previously little pressure in the west end of the town.

A new 500,000-gallon water tank and the former 200,000-gallon reservoir guarantees more than adequate storage of water to fight fires, according to Fire Chief Kerry Alvey. He said other factors were also important to getting fire insurance rates reduced, such as a new 1,000-gallon-per-minute pumper, an additional fire truck, other improved fire fighting equipment and a well-trained fire department.

The mayor said the new classification applies to properties within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and within five road miles of the fire station. Areas more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant and designated as Class 9 while those beyond that distance are Class 10, both requiring higher fire insurance premiums.

Testing that resulted in the classification change and reduced rates were conducted last October by ISO at hydrants that would serve commercial and residential properties if fires should occur.