SALT LAKE CITY - Cottonwood Heights neighbors used a coffin prop to protest at two locations in Salt Lake County on Monday.
Around 11:00 a.m. they were at the Utah State Capitol to protest lawmakers and demand they change fireworks regulations to include a ban on residents using aerial fireworks. They argue the aerial fireworks easily catch foliage surrounding their home on fire and that had led to damaged homes.
“I thought it was very significant (the coffin) showing that the lives that were lost in California, this could happen in Salt Lake City,” said Cottonwood Heights neighbor, and protest organizer Dave Schoeneck Junior. “If we don’t protect ourselves, no one is going to until we stand up as a community and say enough is enough.”
On July 4, 2017, some aerial fireworks caught a nearby field on fire near Schoeneck’s home and burned part of it. His wife and son were alerted in time by neighbors and firefighters to get out. However, Schoeneck, said that a firefighter told his wife that day, if they had been twenty seconds later, the flames would have hit the gas line and their house would have exploded.
Schoeneck was not taking any more chances. He not only has been talking with lawmakers about banning the aerial fireworks, but he has been having conversations with Cottonwood Heights City, the fire department, and the local company who owns that field that caught on fire behind his home. That company is called Security National Financial Corporation. The president, Scott Quist told Fox13 News that field has been in his family for about 50 years.
“We have always been in compliance with every ordinance, rule, request made by Cottonwood Heights,” said president Quist. “I would disagree that the field is not maintained; in fact, my sister lives contiguous to that property for probably 25 years, my nephew did, my niece did, and I had an office at that location for ten years. I am very familiar with the circumstances there.”
Schoeneck said Quist’s field has three-foot high grass and large shrubs that turn into dry foliage for the summer months. His neighbors also used the coffin to protest outside of Quist’s company property in Murray. He wants Quist to take responsibility for the field and maintain it better.
Unified Fire Authority Chief Mike Watson said his team is doing an assessment and will make recommendations for fuel mitigation in the next week or two for Quist’s company. He mentioned to Fox13 that there will need to be fire break (perimeter) improvements but the rest of the detailed results will be released soon.