SHIRLEY -- When a resident showed up unheralded at the Board of Health meeting Monday night, he was welcomed and the question he came to ask was answered, but it may not have been what he was hoping to hear.

"Do you take walk-ins?" Richard Hatch asked.

Hatch said he bought a Woodmaster outdoor wood-burning furnace several years ago, set it up and installed piping intending to provide heat to the buildings on his property, including his workshop. But he didn't hook it up and the furnace was never used.

Now, he's considering hooking up the furnace to heat his home and he wanted to know if there were building codes he'd have to comply with or if a permit was required.

Board of Health member Butch Farrar said the town had no bylaws or building codes concerning such devices, but the state does. It must be factory-certified, he said.

Hatch said he was pretty sure the furnace was manufactured before the new regulations and didn't hold out much hope that he had such a certification.

Farrar and the other members couldn't say whether the furnace would be grandfathered, since it was several years old, not currently in use and never had been.

Chairman Joseph Howlett said if he had to hazard a guess, he'd say it was not.

But Farrar said that since the furnace was already in place, pipes and all, it was worth looking into. Bring in the paperwork, he suggested, and he'd check with the state about what to do next.

The recent regulations were enacted to address environmental and safety hazards, board members said. For example, burning green wood, which is consumed slowly, is prohibited. It builds up creosote deposits and spews acrid smoke. Burning materials other than wood, which causes air pollution, is also not allowed.

-- M. E. JONES