With the Wevertown Volunteer Fire Company officially inactive, Johnsburg Town Supervisor Ron Vanselow said Monday, April 9 in an email to the News Enterprise that he has requested some of the town’s other contracted fire companies provide coverage for Wevertown residents.
“Johnsburg and North Creek VFDs (as well as Riverside) are all on automatic mutual aid for any calls in the Wevertown fire district,” Vanselow wrote. “So we definitely have coverage.”
The Wevertown Fire Company recently disbanded following a series of events, including the town’s decision to hold off renewing its contract and a town request to see some of the company’s records.
“All we asked for was membership and training lists, equipment lists, and their financial and operating information,” Vanselow wrote. “That letter is on file at the town hall.”
Vanselow confirmed that he had discussed the status of the Wevertown company with Warren County Fire Coordinator Brian LaFlure, who recently met with the remaining members of the Wevertown company at the county Fire Coordinator’s office.
Asked if there had been any movement in the situation, Vanselow said no.
“No movement as far as I can tell,” he said. “I do know that one person tried to get ahold of the books with the intent to try to resurrect the department,” Vanselow said, “but was rebuffed by the chief.”
At a recent Town Board meeting, Vanselow said if indeed the Wevertown company has disbanded permanently, the town needs to look at several issues including the disposition of the company’s assets and debt.
Ward Hill fire service
At the same Town Board meeting, Councilman Peter Olesheski brought up an issue raised at a recent Planning Board meeting during a discussion of the proposed Ward Hill Subdivision. Bakers Mills Fire Chief told the Planning Board that his company would not respond to calls that required the company’s trucks to navigate a road with an incline greater than 8 percent or with a width more narrow than 22 feet.
The town’s code currently allows roads to have a grade of 12 percent and a minimum width of 20 feet and the engineer for the Ward Hill project said he designed the project to conform to the town code as currently constituted. Some residents of the neighborhood attending the Planning Board meeting questioned what would happen should a fire break out in the proposed subdivision if the chief refuses to send in fire crews.
“What can the Town Board do to be sure residents are served by the fire district they are paying for?” Olesheski asked.
Vanselow said that he had discussed the situation with the Bakers Mills chief as well as with county officials and there appears to be some confusion regarding what the acceptable standard is and whether the town code is compatible.
“We need to do a little more research,” Vanselow said, adding that the town may or may not need to amend its code.