GREENVILLE — The Darke County Fair Board considered new state fire code regulations at its monthly meeting Wednesday night.
Greenville Township Emergency Services members Brian Wilson and Aaron Ward addressed the board about new regulations that went into effect in December, including requirements that tents, food trucks and other structures remain at least 10 feet apart.
Ohio State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey recently added a variance to the new fire code specifying that food trucks can be parked a mere 2 feet apart, but the 10-foot distance between trucks and other structures remains in effect.
The variance was added in response to a letter sent to the fire marshal by Amanda Sines, a member of the Ohio Fair Managers Association, claiming these new requirements would have an adverse impact on county fairs throughout the state.
“We realize spaces have already been sold for this year,” Greenville Township Fire Marshal Brian Wilson told the board. “We’re not going to look the other way, but we’re going to work with you as much as we can. But we definitely need to look at doing something for next year.”
Fair manager Brian Rismiller asked whether there was any chance the new regulations might be amended again by the following year.
“If I had to guess, I’d say this will probably be the code that will be in place for at least the next seven years,” Wilson said. “The last new code we had was in 2011, so that’s presuming a similar period of time.”
Board members asked a number of questions, including whether covered seating areas set up by the owners of certain concessions would need to be 10 feet away from their associated food trucks and whether vendors selling kettle corn, which is typically cooked inside of a tent, would now have to be moved out into the open.
“We’ll have to look further into that,” Ward said.
“The fire code is 800 pages long,” Wilson said. “And everything in there is because somebody got hurt or somebody got killed.”
In the meantime, board members were encouraged to write letters to the state fire marshal on their own behalf.
“More letters from fairs could lead to more changes,” Ward said.
In other business:
The board approved up to $500 for the purchase of a new sprayer for use by the fairgrounds’ caretaker;
Rismiller suggested that the board consider purchasing a refurbished ticket machine and laptop from Etix, the company now contracted to facilitate ticket sales for the fair. The board is currently renting the equipment at a cost of $150 per month, some of which he indicated might be deducted from the eventual sales price;
And finally, the board voted to approve a contract with the Darke County Sheriff’s Office to provide security services during the fair, at a cost of approximately $4,500.