CASPER CITY COUNCIL ON TUESDAY UNANIMOUSLY VOTED DOWN A PROPOSED PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE AFTER A COMMUNITY OUTCRY.

AT THE LEAST, CRITICS SAID THE INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE WOULD BEEN CUMBERSOME AND COSTLY TO ADMINISTER, IF NOT REDUNDANT TO PROPERTY CODES ALREADY MANDATED BY STATE LAW

AT THE WORST, THEY SAID IT WAS AN ALL-OUT ASSAULT ON PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS AND A STEP TOWARD COMMUNISM.

THIS PARTICULAR CODE WAS AMONG THOSE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL CODE COUNCIL WHICH PUBLISHES UPDATES EVERY THREE YEARS, ACCORDING TO THE COUNCIL AGENDA FROM THE JUNE 19 MEETING. THE STATE OF WYOMING ADOPTS THOSE CODES, AND "THE STATE REQUIRES THAT CASPER, AS A HOME RULE COMMUNITY, ADOPT MINIMUM BUILDING AND FIRE CODES THAT ARE EQUIVALENT TO, OR MORE STRINGENT THAN THOSE STANDARDS ADOPTED BY THE STATE."

COUNCILMEMBERS HAD NO OBJECTIONS TO THE BUILDING, RESIDENTIAL, MECHANICAL, PLUMBING, FUEL GAS, EXISTING BUILDING, AND FIRE CODES. ALL THOSE PASSED ON SECOND READING TUESDAY.

BUT TWO WEEKS AGO, JOHNSON, JESSE MORGAN AND CHRIS WALSH BALKED AT THE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE, AND WERE JOINED BY THE OTHERS TUESDAY. (CHARLIE POWELL WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE MEETING.)
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THE CITY OF CASPER HAS CORRECTED A PROBLEM WITH A WATER STORAGE TANK THAT LED TO CONCERNS OF POTENTIAL DRINKING WATER CONTAMINATION, ACCORDING TO STATEMENTS ISSUED BY CITY OFFICIALS ON TUESDAY.

THE WATER WAS NEVER UNSAFE FOR CONSUMPTION, ACCORDING TO JOLENE MARTINEZ OF THE PUBLIC SERVICES DEPARTMENT.

CITY OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK THAT DEAD MICE HAD BEEN DISCOVERED IN A WATER STORAGE TANK, AND TESTING WAS CONDUCTED TO ENSURE THE CITY'S DRINKING WATER WAS NOT CONTAMINATED.

ON WEDNESDAY, ANDREW BEAMER, DIRECTOR OF THE CITY'S PUBLIC SERVICES DEPARTMENT, SAID IN A STATEMENT THAT ALL SAMPLES TESTED NEGATIVE FOR CONTAMINATION. THE WATER TANK WAS ISOLATED FROM THE DRINKING WATER SYSTEM, AND PRECAUTIONARY WORK COMMENCED.

SINCE THEN, THE TANK HAS BEEN DRAINED, CLEANED AND DISINFECTED. THE CITY SAYS FLUSHING WAS CONDUCTED ON CERTAIN PARTS OF THE WATER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM. SUBSEQUENT WATER TESTING HAS SHOWN THAT THE SYSTEM REMAINS FREE OF CONTAMINATION.

MARTINEZ SAYS THE CITY WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY TO ENSURE THE PUBLIC WATER SYSTEM MET ALL STANDARDS OF THE SAFE WATER DRINKING ACT.

IN A TUESDAY STATEMENT, THE CITY ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT THE EPA HAD CLOSED ITS ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER ISSUED TO THE CITY LAST WEEK.
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NO INJURIES WERE REPORTED AS THE RESULT OF A STRUCTURE FIRE IN CASPER LATE MONDAY, BUT FIREFIGHTERS SAY THE BUILDING IS A TOTAL LOSS.

PATRICK MCJUNKIN OF THE CASPER FIRE-EMS DEPARTMENT SAYS FIREFIGHTERS RESPONDED TO THE AREA OF JEFFERSON AND C STREETS AT ABOUT 11 P.M. MONDAY AFTER MULTIPLE CALLERS INDICATED THAT A BUILDING WAS "WELL INVOLVED" IN FLAMES.

THE BLAZE WAS ALSO REPORTED BY THE CREW OF A WYOMING LIFE FLIGHT HELICOPTER, WHO SPOTTED FLAMES AS THEY FLEW TOWARD WYOMING MEDICAL CENTER.

THE BUILDING WAS "FULLY INVOLVED" WHEN FIRE CREWS ARRIVED, BUT THE BLAZE HAD NOT SPREAD TO AN ATTACHED BUILDING.

FIREFIGHTERS WERE ABLE TO ACCESS THE BUILDING AND EXTINGUISH THE FIRE, BUT THEY WERE HAMPERED BY POWERLINES WHICH WERE DAMAGED BY THE FLAMES AND FELL. THE FIRE WAS CONTAINED TO THE BUILDING IN WHICH IT BEGAN.

BOTH BUILDINGS WERE UNOCCUPIED AT THE TIME OF THE BLAZE, AND MCJUNKIN SAYS NO INJURIES HAVE BEEN REPORTED.

THE BUILDING WHICH BURNED HAD EVIDENTLY BEEN USED FOR STORAGE. THE STRUCTURE AND ITS CONTENTS ARE A TOTAL LOSS, THOUGH A VALUE OF LOSS HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED.

A TOTAL OF 18 CASPER FIRE-EMS PERSONNEL RESPONDED TO THE BLAZE. THEY WERE ASSISTED BY WYOMING MEDICAL CENTER, THE CASPER POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER.

MCJUNKIN SAYS ADDITIONAL DETAILS WILL BE RELEASED AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE.

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THE U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, ITS BEST BUDDY SMOKEY BEAR AND WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS WANT TO REMIND YOU TO BE SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE WHEN ENJOYING PUBLIC LANDS ON JULY 4TH.

BLM WYOMING STATE FIRE MANAGEMENT OFFICER PAUL HOHN SAID ITS FIREFIGHTERS HAVE PLENTY OF WORK FROM THE NATURALLY OCCURRING WILDFIRES, AND IT WANTS PEOPLE TO NOT CAUSE MORE OF THEM.

THESE FIRES CAUSE SIGNIFICANT PROPERTY DAMAGE AND CONSUME MILLIONS OF ACRES OF GRAZING AND FORAGE.

THE BLM RECOMMENDS HAVING A SHOVEL AND WATER ON HAND TO PUT OUT CAMPFIRES.

THE BLM ALSO RECOMMENTS AVOIDING PARKING IN TALL DRY GRASS.

AVOID DRIVING OFF-ROAD VEHICLES IN AREAS WHERE DRY GRASS CAN BE IGNITED BY HOT EXHAUST.

CLEAR AREAS OF FLAMMABLE VEGETATION WHEN CAMPING AND USING OUTDOOR GRILLS.

AND REMEMBER FIREWORKS AND OTHER EXPLOSIVES ARE PROHIBITED ON BLM-ADMINISTERED LANDS.

THE BLM ACTIVELY INVESTIGATES HUMAN-CAUSED FIRES AND ANYONE WHO INTENTIONALLY, OR THROUGH NEGLIGENCE, STARTS A WILDFIRE CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR DAMAGE AND SUPPRESSION COST.
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