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Middletown Bans Open Fires During Summer Months

Open fires will no longer be allowed in Middletown between May 1 and September 30.

In a 5-0 vote Monday evening, Council approved amendments to town code 91.12, which will now prohibit open fires between the dates of May 1 and September 30.


The ban will not include fires in hibachis, gas or charcoal grills for personal outdoor cooking. In addition, the ordinance will still allow for fires for recreational or ceremonial purposes in a fire pit or appropriate container.


The issue was first brought to the Council’s attention on April 2, when resident Karen DiMattia, of 4 Ward Street, said her neighbor was recently given a permit to burn twice in a month.

“Whenever burning occurs outside, there is always smoke which creates air pollution, particles of burning matter carried in the air and the danger of fire to any structure or grass,” said DiMattia.

Fire Chief Ron Doire said as a rough estimate, one out of every 50 open fire permits will result in a complaint.

DiMattia pointed out that open fires are not necessary because Middletown has an effective recycling and rubbish removal program.  

The following exceptions were written into the amended town code: a fire set in conjunction with the production of agricultural commodities, a fire set for the purpose of instructing personnel in firefighting, a fire set to prevent or abate a fire hazard, a fire set for the prevention and control of disease or pests. 

The penalty for violation of the amended ordinance will be between $25 and $500, plus the cost of prosecution.  Penalties will be doubled for second and subsequent offenses.

ralph May 22, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Can people just get a clue? DiaMattia needs to go hug a tree somewhere else. "Causes air pollution, etc." Years ago people burned everything. Paper, plastics, oil, etc. That was air pollution. Now a days, mostly just wood or brush. If proper fire oridinaces are followed, then things such brush fires and such are avoided. If you have drought or extreme dry conditions, you don't burn. It's common sense. Plus if permits are to be had to do a fire bigger than average size, then the fire dept is aware of where and when they are to occur. Even in an approved fire pit or charcol grill, embers and such can still be emmitted into the air and cause possible fires. Sounds like Ms. Diamttia has a beef with her neighbor who was burning, so she'll make him and everybody else pay. Moronic!!!!
Sandy Law May 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Ralph--I must be a moron also, because I am thrilled with the burn ban! My neighbor often burns brush in their back yard, which causes a LOT of smoke that blows into our yard and house. I have allergies, and the smoke is an irritant. So when they are burning we have to immediately close up our house until they are finished. This happens often. I have no idea if they have applied for burn permits or not, but I have often wanted to report them.
Dude May 23, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Well for one if you are burning stuff, let it DRY out first, keep the flame hot and gradually feed the fire. It's knowledge folks. It's you wet burning people and trash burners that are now ruining the outdoor fire pit and gathering for good time people. I'm all for the burning, just do it right. Then all you complain about everything people around here.......most of you just moved here and now complain about people who are true natives to this land. Burning is a way of life for some people. You should work out your differences with your neighbor, instead of getting the town involved. Now they just have another reason to COLLECT MONEY, YOU MORONS......but it's ok for them to have fires and pollute the air. So do we just bring all our brush down to the town hall.
ralph May 23, 2012 at 02:43 PM
@Sandy- I understand the whole smoke in the face thing and I am truly sorry that smoke causes your allegies to flare. However, burning is as old as Middletown itself. There are very limited means to dispose of brush or wood debris in the area. You would have to pay an arm and a leg to have it disposed either by a contractor(landscaper) or some other means. Burning is the most cost effective way to dispose of brush or wood. The town council has simply over reached in it's attempt to fix an issue. Now as far as your neighbor, I would have suggested a simple conversation with him/her would most likely resolve your issue. If they could notify you when they may be burning, would be a super thing to do. Maybe? It can't hurt. With the island being built up so much, it is not out of the question for people who burn to have consideration for their neighbors.
Glen May 23, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Hey Dude, They said fire pits are still allowed. I know my neighbors aren't true natives but I've spent years suffering their burning of anything and everything to get rid of garbage and then nightly huge fires for drinking fun. They really never got charged and would be given permits that lasted more than on night but mostly they didn't bother and then would be allowed to continue. Apparently Karen DiMattia has pull or this new fire chief is really a whole lot better than the last one. My neighbors went to sleep with a fire burning and the police came and it took them forever to wake them up and they didn't write a report on them or ticket them. They got a way with anything they wanted because they are more important people than I am. When new neighbors came along and started complaining then they started getting in trouble.
Glen May 23, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Maybe people can buy or rent a wood chipper, hire someone to take it away, dispose of it through the middletown program or move to the country. Many people have COPD, allergies or don't like the smoke in their faces. Good thing cigarette smoking is not okay in public places because I doubt a simple conversation will do as it is out of the question for people who burn to be inconsiderate of those around them just like those smoking cigarettes.
Glen May 23, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Dear Ralph, You don't know what most people burn. You only know what those around you burn or what you burn. What is the big deal? Burn your wood in a fire pit.
MichAEL May 24, 2012 at 01:06 AM
This law sucks.Middletown suck.
MichAEL May 24, 2012 at 01:11 AM
DO YOU HAVE A FIREPLACE, THAT BLOWS IN MY HOUSE. I THINK That law sucks.whats nexts????
MichAEL May 24, 2012 at 04:30 AM
your right.The town council did over reached.who are thay working for,NOT US..........
MichAEL May 24, 2012 at 04:31 AM
What's nexted
Glen May 24, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Sandy, I agree with you, I must also be a moron because I am also thrilled with the burn ban! I wish they outlawed all fires.
ralph May 24, 2012 at 03:23 PM
@summertime- You should buy one of those fireplaces that have the lights that emanate like a fire. It has all the ambience with out the dreaded smoke to choke you.
Mike Nasiff May 24, 2012 at 07:41 PM
The ban is foolish ......shame on that woman ...next you wont be able to smoke in your backyard .......and they wonder why people move away and such .....ban on this ban on that .....it is out of control !!!! wait til next winter .....some one will bitch about their neighbors fireplace ...or what about the outside furnaces ......GET A GRIP PEOPLE ....... This is whats wrong with America today ........ the Small percentage of people 2 or 3 % who screw things up for the other 95+ % CHILL THE **** OUT !!!!
ralph May 24, 2012 at 07:44 PM
@Mike-Amen brother

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