From AP - News Headlines -

Ordinance Banning Indoor Furniture on Porches Heads to Urbana Council

An ordinance banning outdoor storage of indoor furniture was approved by the Urbana City Council's Committee of the Whole.

The ordinance follows a recent Urbana house fire that left 25 year old Ashley Ames severely burned. The fire started on a front porch couch. Fire Chief Michael Dilley says the ordinance is geared to limit overstuffed furniture such as couches, chairs and mattresses because its a large ignition source.

Dilley says outdoor furniture fires are not an isolated incident in Urbana in past years, and the regulation is not a restriction of one's freedom of choosing a lifestyle.

"We regulate lifestyle every day," Dilley said. "We have codes and ordinances that help people be safe, and this is just another one that over a period of years we've found that it's a problem. We don't just go out and pull something out of thin air. When we start having issues when people die, then we look at them."

Aldermen Dennis Roberts was the only vote in dissent. Roberts says people used to say quote "your home is your castle."

"It's possible, yes, that a fire could start on a porch because of a couch," Roberts told the council. "But does that mean no one should ever have a couch on the porch? I don't think so. I think we have to use common sense, and I think it's a shame that we're trying tro regulate people's styles of living outdoors."

The Urbana City Council will vote on the Ordinance next Monday.

In addition, Mayor Laurel Prussing says that June 8th 2010 has been proclaimed Al Johnston Day in Urbana. The veteran Urbana Police Officer recently retired.