Before the season began, WVU and Morgantown officials decided to crack down on the Mountaineer tradition of burning couches after big wins (and big losses). They aren't kidding around, making the celebratory pyre a felony arson charge. The new rules face their greatest test Saturday night, as No. 2 LSU comes to Mountaineer Field for a big-time showdown of the undefeated.
Ahead of the game the Morgantown Fire Marshal has issued a furniture abatement order, meaning all potential kindling must be safely locked up inside. They've identified specific zones where the order will be enforced, which to us just means we know where not to prepare your conflagration. So we've put together two helpful maps. For students in the Downtown Campus, consult the map above and keep your couch-burning out of the dotted area. (Beyond the zones, it's apparently okay.) For students closer to the Evansdale campus, you can find your map below.
Here's the letter sent to all WVU students. Keep safe, keep fiery.
MORGANTOWN - The Morgantown Fire Marshal Division announced Monday that it will order a furniture abatement order to be in effect from 8 a.m. on Sept. 22 until 8 a.m. on Sept. 26 to prevent unlawful and malicious fires.
Residents in student housing areas of down and the downtown section of Morgantown will be ordered to remove any interior furniture, debris, construction materials, tables, or other combustible materials from their porches, balconies, lawns, or any other property covered in the property's lease.
"In the past, particular areas within Morgantown have been plagued with thousands of intentionally set street fires," states the Order of Abatement. "Many times these malicious fires have extended to private properties and have caused considerable property damage resulting in a severe risk to life safety."
Officials say they chose to put this furniture abatement order, the first since 2005, into place because West Virginia University and Louisiana State University, or LSU, are both undefeated this football season, and students are still choosing to burn after WVU victories. Two students were arrested this weekend for their participation in celebratory burning, according to Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preson.
The areas affected by the abatement order include all streets, alleys, and property in 3 specified locations:
· Between Eighth Street to the north, and Campus Drive to the south; University Avenue to the east and Beechurst to the west.
· College Avenue to the West, and Willey Street to the east; Cornell Avenue to the north and Prospect Street to the south.
· Stewart Street from university Avenue to the West and Wellen Avenue to the east.
Members of the Fire Marshal's division and fire fighters visited these areas Monday and placed notices on houses and apartments that showed signs of violating the order. They have until 8 a.m. on Thursday to clear their property of the offending furniture. "Failure to comply will result in a misdemeanor citation being issue to any or all residents or occupants of the property," the order outlines. Listed materials found on Thursday morning will be revoked and taken to the city garage, where only the salvageable furniture will be held (no makeshift tables, construction materials, etc.) for a period of five working days. It can be reclaimed by calling the Morgantown Fire Department Administrative Office by calling during regular business hours.
You can visit the Morgantown Fire Department's website at http://www.morgantownfd.org . To schedule an interview, please contact Fire Marshal Ken Tennant's office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The number there is (304) 284-7480.