Monday, December 03, 2012

Family charged for water after blaze destroys home

An Eagle Mills, New York couple that lost their home to a fire last week, now has to pay $1,400 for the water used to combat the flames. The massive fire started at around 1 p.m. on Monday and took dozens of volunteer fire fighters nearly nine hours to put out. Fire investigators say the first unit arrived within one minute of receiving the call, but despite the quick response, the home was fully engulfed and there was not much they could do.

Homeowner Mike Pretio said he was grateful for the volunteer fire fighters who responded. He said he tried to put out the flames himself but just didn't have enough water, and called for help. The reason he has to foot the $1,400 bill: "It was an out-of-district water use," Poestenkill Supervisor Dominic Jocangelo said. He explains the town of Poestenkill established a water district restriction two years ago, and under the new rules residents outside the town have to pay for water use.

Jocangelo says it is the first time they've charged. He says he sent the bill to the homeowner and has not heard back, and that he's flexible about the amount, but that it's unfair to have taxpayers in Poestenkill foot the bill. Thomas Martin, Fire Chief of Eagle Mills, calls the bill outrageous, saying it was easier for his crew to use Poestenkill's water, given the location of the house. He's never heard of any municipality charging and he thinks it's wrong.

Martin says in the town of Brunswick, where they are located, water is always free to use, no matter where they have take it. Martin says this is the first time he's ever heard of a bill such as this happening. Martin is concerned this could become an ongoing issue. "I really hope the town board in Poestenkill can review this situation and take it into consideration to change their practice," he said.

With news video.


Anonymous said...

"Fire investigators say the first unit arrived within one minute of receiving the call."

Bull. Shit.

You can't even load the truck and get it out of the station house in sixty seconds. That claim alone should be grounds to dismiss the water charges.

Anonymous said...

The keyword her is "unit". It was likely the "battalion commander" who spends his day driving around in his government issued 8 mpg SUV from coffee shop to coffee shop to check if fire codes are being followed. His ability to fight an actual fire is nil, but he does have the important job informing the incoming FIRE TRUCKS that their is an actual fire. Most calls turn out to be nothing more than a burning toaster or overheated electric furnace or motor.

That said it is still EXTREMELY likely that he was NOT there within one minute. They use words such as, "Mark me as arrived," when they haven't actually arrived. It makes their response times look better, (a statistic they heavily cite to the voting public to make them feel like they are getting their money's worth).