Recession Forces Burbank To Revisit Ban On Fire-Prone Roofs

BURBANK (CBS) — Should a city change its laws if it adds a dubious financial burden on its residents?

That’s the question facing members of the City Council in Burbank, where a deadline to require all wood shake roofs to be replaced is set to elapse.

Firefighters maintain that the old wood shake roofs constitute a fire hazard no matter where the home is located, with one fire official going so far as to call it “a pile of kindling” on your roof.

But now at least one council member questions whether the 20-year-old deadline should still be enforced in these tough economic times.

City Councilman David Gordon told KNX 1070 that in many instances the upgrades may not even be necessary.

“Often the roofs that are in place have 30-to-40 year expected useful lives, and so of them are perfectly functional,” said Gordon. “There’s some significant expense and issues for people who are now on a drop-dead date basis being required to replace their roofs.”

Other roofs have also been covered with fire-retardant shingles that would still need to be replaced under the ordinance, according to Gordon.

In addition, roofs in the fire-prone areas have already been converted under a separate deadline, leaving only those in the flat lands — which are well away from the hillside brush, the councilman said.

“There doesn’t appear to be imminent fire danger in the non-hillside areas,” said Gordon. “It makes more sense to me to have some sort of phasing in that when homeowners replace the roofs normally, that a fire-resistant roof be put on.”

Gordon has reportedly asked for a full council review of the existing law and perhaps lifting the deadline altogether.


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