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Victim of Brunswick house fire gets bill for water

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— Michael Pietro doesn’t mind so much that he got billed for the water firefighters used to battle the blaze that destroyed his Rensselaer County home.

What really irks him is the amount: $1,400.

“First of all, I’m not shocked at getting a bill for the water,” Pietro said Friday, still shaken from the fire that leveled his house and destroyed all his belongings. “What I’m shocked at is the markup. I know it does not cost the village of Poestenkill $20 per 1,000 gallons.”

Volunteer firefighters battling Monday’s blaze had to use water hauled in by tanker trucks to combat the flames, and the nearest hydrant was located down the road, in the neighboring town of Poestenkill.

Two days after the fire, town officials in Poestenkill sent Pietro a water bill for $1,400. Town Supervisor Dom Jacangelo has said his town has to pass along the expense because Poestenkill buys its water from Brunswick and the nearby city of Troy.

Under town law, use of a hydrant costs $20 per 1,000 gallons used. The law also says it costs $40 to use a hydrant for “emergency response” but it’s not clear if that’s a flat fee or means $40 per 1,000 gallons used. Jacangelo said firefighters used 73,000 gallons of water knocking down the blaze at the house Pietro shared with his wife in the town of about 4,500 people.

Jacangelo and other town officials didn’t return messages seeking comment Friday.

“In all honesty and fairness, at the bottom of the bill, it said if there were any problems, they said I could contact the town and they can be flexible,” Pietro said.

Pietro, who moved to Brunswick just three years ago, told The Associated Press he had nothing but respect and gratitude for the way fire crews attacked the blaze and the way the community has rallied around him.



November 30, 2012
3:21 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

What ever happened to Volunteer fire department? This is BS He should not be billed period!!!

November 30, 2012
4:16 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Ed186 is right: no way should this man have to foot this bill.

December 1, 2012
7:45 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

ed186- The fire department isn't getting paid, the water department is.

That said, if the man lives in Brunswick, and Poestenkill buys some of its water from Brunswick, can't the town of Brunswick just issue the town of Poestenkill a credit on its next bill? Or, does that make too much sense for government to accomplish? Other information that would be nice to know:
1) Did Poestenkill try to work this out with Brunswick first, or just send a bill?
2) Did Poestenkill actually meter the water used, or are they just estimating?
3) Did all of the water get poured on the fire, or was some left in the trucks?
All of which leads to the point that this whole thing is absurd.