Fire officials in Morgantown, W. Va., have ordered the removal of all upholstered furniture, debris and flammable objects from porches in neighborhoods with high student populations in an effort to put a damper on the outdoor furniture blazes that have become a tradition.
The move comes as the city prepares to host Saturday's West Virginia-Virginia Tech football game.
"The reason for the order is based upon statistical fire data gathered following major rival football games or other sporting events," Morgantown Fire Chief Dave Fetty said. "Data says there are particular areas within the city where we can expect to have illegal street fires."
Students celebrating victories by the Mountaineers have a long tradition of setting fires in the streets, often with cheap furniture dragged from their rental homes.
Morgantown led the nation in the number of intentional street fires between 1997 and 2003, with a total of 1,129 set.
The sold-out game will mark the final scheduled meeting between the teams, which have played each year since 1973.
Virginia Tech, which enters the game ranked third nationally, defeated the Mountaineers, 19-13, in Blacksburg last year. This is the second season for the Hokies in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Virginia Tech is the defending ACC champion.
"Officers plan to go door to door posting written, typed-up orders on each house or putting them in mailboxes," Fetty said. "The notice states all indoor furniture that has been placed outside, along with other debris in specified areas, must be put elsewhere."
Residents have until Friday morning to remove the specified items. Those who refuse to comply with the order will receive a citation, and their furniture will be loaded into dump trucks and hauled away by city workers. Residents will be charged.
-- From News Services