Part of the interior of the Upper Jay Firehouse was destroyed by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Irene last year.
A dispute over the damage done to the Upper Jay firehouse that appeared to be headed to court has been settled through the help of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The governor’s office announced June 13 that a deal had been reached through the State Insurance Fund between the Town of Jay, the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Company and the insurance company VFIS that will allow the company to rebuild and relocate their facilities.
“This takes the roadblocks out of the way,” Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said. “Now, the Upper Jay Fire Company will be able to start the process of applying for FEMA funding and relocating.”
The firehouse, located along Route 9N along the East Branch of the Ausable River, was destroyed by flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene Aug. 28 of last year.
Following the devastation, the Jay code enforcement officer concluded that the damage to the building was greater than 50-percent of the appraised value of the site, which was disputed by the insurance company, which had started to file for legal action before the settlement was reached.
Because of the lawsuit, the insurance claim was held up, which was needed by the fire company to pursue FEMA funding to replace their facility.
“They have to have the insurance settlement claim to submit to FEMA before that can take that next step,” Douglas said. “This result that the governor was key to boths settles the potential lawsuit and allows the fire company to move forward with the claim.”
Along with the claim, the fire company will also be able to move the firehouse from its current location to Valley Road.
“The current building is on the 100-year flood plane and has been flooded numerous times, but never anything like this,” Douglas said. “The fire company has been looking at a piece of land on Valley Road and can now start the process to get there.”
Douglas said that FEMA and state representatives would be in the region next week to survey the damage throughout Upper Jay, including the firehouse.
The deal was reached through the State Insurance Fund and the governor’s office.
“I saw firsthand the destruction that Hurricane Irene caused in Upper Jay and other local communities in the North Country,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased that the state was able to help in this agreement that will allow for the firehouse to be moved to a new location, and save taxpayers from having to foot the bill that would have accompanied litigation.”
“Gov. Cuomo and his administration have been enormously helpful and supportive, and their work to forge this agreement is another example of that commitment,” State Sen. Betty Little said. “Our first responders were heroes during and in the days and weeks following the storm. I’m very pleased to see Upper Jay moving closer to having their firehouse operational again.”
“This is another example of the cooperation Gov. Cuomo has fostered to assist our North Country communities in rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene,” State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward said. “The Upper Jay Fire Company will be able to rebuild in a safe location and continue to provide the dedicated service to the community that they have done for generations.”