Burning Issue: Wood-stove smoke causes businesses problems

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A complaint about a downtown resident smoking up adjacent buildings with his wood-burning stove prompted the city building inspector to issue a citation this week.

“I didn’t give it to the owner of the building, but to her daughter,” Brent Goben said of the citation issued to Linda K. Clemons.

Clemons is the owner of the building at 113 S. Indianapolis Ave. that once housed The Chatterbox, a tavern that closed about three years ago.

Goben said the citation is for creating a public nuisance, which calls for Clemons to pay a $100 fine by Nov. 27. The fine could grow to $250 if a second citation is issued and $500 if a third must be issued.

He said the wood-burning stove is not in compliance with Underwriter Laboratories requirements and needs to be brought up to standards.

“There is no law against burning wood,” Goben said.

City Fire Chief Brad Lucas said the city became involved in the issue after receiving a call from the nearby Grindlay & Associates, a certified public accountant office on West Second Street.

Owner Karen Grindlay has concerns about smoke from the wood-burning stove of her neighbor.

“I’m worried about the health of the people who work and come into this building,” Grindlay said. Her family owns the building, which houses her accounting firm along with a drugstore and an employment services company.

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