Lawrence passes ordinance banning couches on porches

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LAWRENCE, Kan. - The old college tradition of hanging out on the front porch may be getting a little less comfortable. A new Lawrence city ordinance is banning upholstered furniture on porches, decks and patios. According to Lawrence Division Fire Chief James King, the goal is to cut down on the number of house fires.

"When these catch fire, they burn very rapidly, very hot, promote rapid fire growth," said King. "It's a danger because they are often times placed in an exit or entrance to a building."

Typical fines for violating the ordinance start at $100, with the landlord footing the bill. University of Kansas Junior Calvionna Rayford and her roommates hang out on their porch every day and love sitting on their big couch.

"College front porches are where the roommates come together and everyone comes in to see the house," said Rayford. "I think a lot of people will be upset because more people have couches on their porches rather than lawn furniture."

King said in the last two years, five fires started on porch couches resulting in serious injuries in all cases.

"The way they are constructed they generally have wood frames, a fabric, and are generally covered in urethane, based foam that is combustible," said King.

The ban doesn't include lawn chairs and other types of furniture made for outdoor use. City officials have not set a date when they will start enforcing the ban, but rather spend the coming weeks educating and warning residents about the ban.

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