Firefighters: danger high at Park City apartments
By Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff
Firefighters encourage Aspen Villas residents to report all fires in units at the complex to the Park City Fire District.
A haven for illegal immigrants, Deputy Fire Marshal Dave Berg says kitchen fires at the apartments, at 1847 Kearns Boulevard, often go unreported.
"We want to assure you our intentions are for your safety," Berg told a group of mostly Latinos last week during a meeting at Aspen Villas. "It is important for us to investigate the fires."
Recent fires at the apartment complex "are tied to the stoves in the units," Berg said, adding that firefighters intend to soon inspect apartments at Aspen Villas to determine which stoves should be replaced.
"If you have a problem, you should not be afraid to contact us there is no reason to fear us whatsoever," Berg said, adding that firefighters don't enforce immigration laws. "We heard of one incident where someone was burned in another complex and they did not report it."
Through an interpreter, Berg also advised the mostly Spanish-speaking crowd to regularly test and replace smoke-detector batteries in their apartments.
"Some smoke detectors need to be changed out. They have a life of about five years," Berg said.
About once a week a person is injured in grease fires at Aspen Villas, he adds.
"[Grease] can reach a point where it becomes very dangerous," said Dale Nicholls, plans examiner for the Park City Building Department.
Following blazes at the apartments, firefighters often find dried cooking oil caked near heating elements on the stoves, which cause "arcing sparks," Nicholls said.
"It can cause an explosion or a violent fire," he said.
Nicholls told residents not to heat oil hotter than temperatures recommended by the product's manufacturers when they cook.
"I recommend only deep-frying in approved containers," he said, adding that proper appliances cut down on flammable vapors and grease splatter.
Stoves should be kept clean and free of grease and oil, Nicholls said.
"We recommend that management inspect your kitchens on a regular basis," he told the group.
Often the fire district only finds out about kitchen fires at Aspen Villas when flames trigger sprinklers in the apartments, Berg said.
"It comes back to these people being a little intimidated by any authority figure," he said. "It's not like we're going to create a problem for them. We have no association with immigration or the police department for that matter."
Never tamper with or remove batteries from smoke detectors, Berg said, adding, "that's something we've had an ongoing issue with for years."
The Park City Fire District provides batteries for smoke detectors free of charge, he said, adding that residents should contact the department at 649-6706 for more information.
"We need to be notified so we can prevent ongoing problems," Berg said.
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04-02-2005, 10:14 PM #1
High Danger at Park City ApartmentsFront line since 1983 and still going strong
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