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Chimney fires happen when products of incomplete combustion (soot) build up in a chimney for a fireplace or wood stove. The build-up is called creosote. Creosote is usually black or dark brown and is readily combustible. When creosote burns in a chimney it can be explosive. Often you will see flames shooting out of the top of the chimney. Creosote can also burn slowly with no exterior visible flame and put out tremendous heat. Either form of chimney fire can spread to structural members of the house through loose mortar or by the warping of metal chimneys or just from the extreme heat radiating from the fire in a metal chimney.
Maintenance is the key. You can’t completely prevent creosote since it is a natural result of combustion. That is why it is critical that your chimney be professionally cleaned at least once a year with normal use. There are certain things that people unwittingly do that actually accelerate creosote accumulation. Some people try to make the fire last longer by cutting off most of the air supply. This does make the fire slow down but it also increases creosote which is what smoke becomes as it deposits soot on the walls of the chimney. Some people also burn firewood that is "green" (high moisture content). Water, when vaporized, expands 1,700 times in size and acts as a cooling agent. Burning green wood cools the fire and the smoke allowing creosote to build up faster. Remember these key points:
Signs that a chimney fire is happening or that is has happened include:
Get everyone out of the house and call 911.
Every sleeping room shall have at least one (1) operable window or exterior door approved for emergency egress or rescue. The units must be operable from the inside to a full clear opening without the use of separate tools. Where a window is provided as a means of egress or rescue, they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches above the floor.
All egress or rescue windows from sleeping rooms must have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet. The minimum net clear opening height dimension shall be 24 inches. The minimum net clear opening width dimension shall be 20 inches.
To calculate the square footage of the opening, multiply the width of the opening in inches by the height of the opening in inches and dividing by 144. This measurement should be 5.7 minimum.
Every sleeping room used for sleeping purposes shall contain a minimum of seventy (70) square feet of floor area and at least fifty (50) square feet of floor area per person with all measurements based on the total habitable room area; provided that the occupancy of any dwelling unit having more than one (1) habitable room shall not exceed an average of one and one-half (1 1/2) persons per habitable room, and provided further that for the purposes of this section, a child under ten (10) years of age shall be deemed to be one-half (1/2) person.
Every dwelling unit shall contain at least one hundred (100) square feet of floor area per occupant.
A guardrail is required when:
The triangular openings formed by the riser, tread at the bottom rail at the open side of a stairway shall be of a maximum size such that a sphere 6 inches in diameter cannot pass through the opening.
A building permit issued shall become invalid if the authorized work is not commenced within six (6) months after the issuance of the permit, or if the authorized work is suspended or abandoned for a period of six (6) months after the time of commencing the work. A building permit is good for one year from the date of issuance.
Foundation systems should be four feet (4 feet) minimum below grade to protect from frost.
Ground snow load 50 wind speed 90 (mph).
Handrail requirements are:
R105.5 Expiration. Every permit issued shall become invalid unless the work authorized by such permit is commenced within 180 days after its issuance, or if the work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days after the time the work is commenced. The building official is authorized to grant, in writing, one or more extensions of time, for periods not more than 180 days each. The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.
Any work performed for pay, including painting and remodeling, that results in the disturbance of painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities.
An individual renovator must complete a renovator training course accredited by Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state program and obtain a renovator certification from EPA or a state program.
A renovation firm must be certified and employ at least one trained, certified renovator, who must provide uncertified workers with on-the-job training on job-specific work practices.
As of April 22, 2010, all renovation work in target housing must be conducted by certified firms, certified renovators, and workers who have had on the job training regarding job-specific work practices. States may adopt the rules with different timeframes.
The following exemptions to the rule apply:
Additional limits include:
The Environmental Protection Agency will delegate the renovation program to any state or tribe that seeks authorization to administer it and demonstrates that its program will be at least as protective as the Environmental Protection Agency’s. States have the option to make the rule more protective than the Environmental Protection Agency. New Hampshire and 38 other states have accepted delegation of Environmental Protection Agency’s rules for lead abatement.
Excise Tax is paid at the local town office where the owner of the vehicle resides. When a vehicle needs to be registered, an excise tax is collected prior to the registration.
The amount of tax is determined by two things:
Excise Tax is calculated by multiplying the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) by the mill rate as shown below. The rates drop back on January 1 of each year.
For example, a 3-year old car with an MSRP of $19,500 would pay $263.25.
The town that collects the excise tax can use it as revenue towards the annual town budget. Typically, the revenue is spent on local road maintenance, construction and repair.
Excise Tax was designed with equity in mind. In 1925, this tax was enacted as a Maine law. At that time, the State Legislature decided that the fairest tax assessment would be based on what the manufacturer suggested it sell for.
This law has remained in effect for over 75 years to ensure that everyone who drives the same vehicle pay the same amount of tax.
There are several resources for the MSRP that will provide the information on the retail price of a vehicle. New vehicles are required to have a window sticker that must be must be presented on first-time registrations.
Many towns have adopted software and can actually use the VIN number in order to get the MSRP of that vehicle.
To apply for General Assistance, call 854-0676 to schedule an appointment. Phone calls are returned in the order in which they are received. Each person needs to complete an application in order to determine eligibility. Appointments are required. Office hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Excise Tax is paid at the local town office where the owner of the vehicle resides. When a vehicle needs to be registered, an excise tax is collected prior to the registration.
To get copies of an accident report, please visit the Maine Crash Reporting website or the Buy Crash - Lexis Nexis website to obtain a copy of a report.
To get copies of a Police report, please fill out the Police Department Records Request Form (DOC). The form is available in the lobby of the Public Safety Building or online available for download and printing, Police Department Records Request Form (DOC). The request forms can be dropped off at the Public Safety Building or mailed to the Westbrook Police Department, addressed to the Records Administrator. There are fees associated with purchasing a report - please see the request form for the amount. Payment is due before any reports can be released, and checks should be made out to the City of Westbrook. If you are requesting a copy of report that is in the court system, we cannot provide that to you. You will need to go through the discovery process with the District Attorney's Office.
Fireworks are prohibited in the City of Westbrook, except for on December 31, July 4 and July 5. Fireworks are allowed on December 31 and July 4 from 9 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. the following day (January 1 and July 5). Fireworks are allowed on July 5 from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. (If July 5 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the end time is 12:30 a.m. on July 6). To use fireworks on those three days, you must obtain a fireworks permit from the City. You can obtain these at the Public Safety Building for $10.
To apply for General Assistance, call 207-854-0676 to schedule an appointment. Phone calls are returned in the order in which they are received. Each person needs to complete an application in order to determine eligibility. Appointments are required. Office hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Signed lease / rental agreement, current bank statement, proof of household income & expenses, employment verification / paystubs, medical statement if unable to work, photo ID, passport & immigration papers if applicable, social security cards for all household members, correspondence from Social Security / DHHS
Each applicant is responsible for providing the General Assistance Administrator all information necessary to determine eligibility. This includes information verifying members of the household, documentation of all sources of income received in the household (salary, child support, workers compensation benefits, unemployment, SSI, SSDI, social security, TANF, tax returns, money received from family members, etc.). Additionally, applicants must provide documentation of their expenses for basic necessities (housing, heat, electricity, food, non-food, prescriptions, etc.) and work related expenses (childcare and transportation to work). The administrator will make a determination of eligibility based on the overall maximums allowed by the State and municipality. Clients will receive a decision sheet indicating eligibility or ineligibility. If a household member is available to work, a job search log will be provided and consideration for Workfare.
The City will grant assistance to eligible applicants for basic necessities according to the maximum levels for specific types of assistance. Basic necessities include shelter, rent, utilities (electricity, heat), food, personal care and household supplies and prescription medication.
If interested in subsidized affordable housing, please contact Westbrook Housing at 207-854-9779. You may need to place your name on their list and also for Section 8 housing. We have a list of landlords in the waiting area of the Community Center office that work with the General Assistance program in the City of Westbrook. The list is not all inclusive and you may want to check with additional landlords, Craigslist and Maine Housing Search.
Each applicant and any member of the household who is capable of working may be required to perform work for the municipality as a condition of receiving assistance. As part of the municipal work program, the municipality can require recipients to participate in training, education or rehabilitative programs that will assist recipients in securing employment.
At the time an applicant receives a decision on their application, the administrator will inform the applicant of future responsibilities for consideration of future eligibility. Once applying for General Assistance, all clients regardless of whether or not they received any benefits are responsible for showing that they have done all they can to prevent needing general assistance again. This includes providing documentation (receipts) of all their spending over the past thirty days, all income received in past thirty days, and have utilized all potential resources the manager referred them to.
General Assistance is a program that encourages clients to do all they can to self-sustain and prevent needing future assistance. An applicant may be found ineligible to receive general assistance if they: misspend their income on items that are not considered basic necessities (this will count as money that is still available to the household and will affect the amount of eligibility); if a client forfeits a benefit, this benefit will not be replaced; if a client quits a job without cause or is fired from a job, they are disqualified from receiving assistance fora 120 day period; for failing to perform or complete a workfare assignment; for willfully making a false representational about their eligibility; for not providing or permitting the administrator to gather the necessary verification and documentation as required; as well as others.
Generally, General Assistance is determined for a temporary period only. If an applicant needs to apply for General Assistance again, responsibility falls on the client to make sure requirements are met. An applicant may apply once every thirty days, unless deemed ineligible.
If you disagree with the decision, applicants should discuss the matter with the Administrator. All applicants have the right to request a Fair Hearing which would provide the applicant with a Board not involved in the decision to decide whether you are eligible for assistance. If you would like to request a Fair Hearing, you must make the request in writing within five working days of the decision.
This program is administered in accordance with the standard of eligibility as provided in 22 M.R.SA., Chapter 1161.
To get copies of a Police report, please fill out the WPD Records Request Form. The form is also available in the lobby of the Public Safety Building. The request forms can be dropped off at the Public Safety Building or mailed to the Westbrook Police Department, addressed to the Records Administrator. There are fees associated with purchasing a report - please see the request form for the amount. Payment is due before any reports can be released, and checks should be made out to the City of Westbrook. If you are requesting a copy of report that is in the court system, we cannot provide that to you. You will need to go through the discovery process with the District Attorney's Office.
To request the return of property that was seized by a police officer, you need to fill out a Property Request Form (PDF) - this form is also available in the lobby of the Public Safety Building. The completed forms can be dropped off at the Public Safety Building or mailed to the Westbrook Police Department, addressed to the Evidence Technician. Please make sure that your contact information is filled out completely so we can contact you if we have any questions. You should be aware that if your property is part of a criminal case we may not be able to release it without approval from the District Attorney or until the court process has ended.
To apply for a Concealed Firearms permit, you need to turn in a completed application to the Westbrook Police Department. The application is available in the lobby of the Public Safety Building or you can download the document online, Concealed Firearms Application Packet (PDF). Completed applications should be dropped off at the Public Safety Building or mailed to the Westbrook Police Department, addressed to the Records Administrator. Along with the applications, you must include the appropriate fee ($35 for new applicants, $20 for renewals and $2 for change of address). Checks should be made out to the City of Westbrook.
You can leave an anonymous tip by calling 207-591-8117. This number is not for reporting emergencies or other incidents requiring a timely police response. For emergencies please dial 911, and for non-emergencies please dial 207-854-0644, ext. 0.
To make a complaint against any employee of the Westbrook Police Department, or any aspect of police operations, you can fill out the Citizen Complaint Form (DOC). This form is available in the lobby of the Public Safety Building. You may mail your complaint to the Chief of Police:
570 Main StreetWestbrook, ME 04092
You can also bring the form to the Public Safety Building. You are also welcome to speak with a Police Supervisor, either at the Public Safety Building or by phone. If you have any questions about filling out the complaint forms any Police Supervisor or Administrator will be able to assist you.
Please visit the Becoming a Westbrook Police Officer page to learn more about our application process.
Between November 15 and April 15, no parking is allowed on any street in Westbrook for more than 1 hour between Midnight and 6 a.m. Vehicles parked on any street during this time may be ticketed, and during times that Public Works is plowing they may be towed. Parking is available at the following locations:
When parking overnight in a city-owned downtown lot during a Snow Emergency (which is any plowable snow event), vehicles need to be parked in the Green Zones between the hours of 12 AM and 7 AM. Green Zones are located in the Mechanic Street Lot, Ash Street Lot and Church Street Lots, as designated by Green Zone signs at those locations. Any vehicle not parked in the designated Green Zones during a Snow Emergency will be ticketed and towed. Vehicles must be moved out of the Green Zones by 7 AM to allow for snow removal. Any vehicles parked in Green Zones between 7 AM and 8 AM during a Snow Emergency will be ticketed and towed.
For further information please visit the winter parking page on the City’s website at https://www.westbrookmaine.com/564/Winter-Parking.
Yes. Fingerprinting is available on Mondays between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. No appointment is necessary. If you are a Westbrook resident or the company needing fingerprints is from Westbrook, we will fingerprint you for no cost. For non-Westbrook residents and companies the cost is $10. You must provide the fingerprint card. Please be aware that due to priority calls you may have to wait a while to get fingerprinted, or you may be asked to come back the next week if officers are going to be unavailable.