Fire District Reimbursed For Storm Expenses

Check covering most of the costs related to Tropical Storm Irene arrives after a two-day FEMA audit.

The has received a check for just over $9,000 for costs incurred responding to emergency calls during Tropical Storm Irene. Chief Peter Henrikson told the Fire Commissioners at a recent meeting the reimbursement will cover about 75 percent of the actual cost to the department.  He said a FEMA representative spent two days at the fire station going through documents to verify the numbers.

Henrikson also told the board that after a long search the town has hired a full time mechanic and having the position filled has already paid off. A problem that sidelined one of the rescue units was repaired in three hours. Not having a mechanic would have required using personnel to get the unit to a commercial garage and then a wait while the work fit into their schedule. The District is paying a portion of the mechanic’s salary, in what Henrikson said he sees as a win–win situation that should save also money in the long run.

The Commissioners appointed Dave Dumas to its Planning Committee, citing his lengthy record of past service to the community on various boards and commissions and as a state representative. The committee was charged with reviewing capital improvement plans, working on the mapping of response times, reviewing a proposed consolidation of the central dispatch function with Warwick and making suggestions for a comprehensive plan to utilize impact fees. Some building projects require payment of an impact fee, which can only be spent in designated areas and must be returned to the source if not used in five years.

The Commissioners also reviewed what needs to be done with regard to their annual goals for the year, including an on-going review of cost benefits possible through consolidating services with other communities. Another goal is recruitment of members for the Planning Committee and the Commission. Two commission seats will be up for election this coming June.

And Chief Henrikson told the Commissioners he has worked out an Automatic Aid Agreement with the Coventry Fire Department to cover the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in the Center of New England. The East Greenwich boundary line reaches just into that area and takes in the restaurant. Because it is a long run for either of the East Greenwich fire stations, and a Coventry station is just up the road, Henrikson worked out a no-cost agreement for Coventry to cover calls that might come from Cracker Barrel.


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