County needs new home for hazmat truck

HUDSON–A hazmat vehicle, the old Claverack Court site, and fireworks were among the topics addressed by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Public Safety meeting Thursday, September 22.

The county is looking for a place to house its hazmat (hazardous materials) vehicle, reported county Fire Coordinator William Hunt. The Livingston Fire Department has stored at no charge for a year. But as of October 31, it will no longer do so “due to space constraints,” said a letter from the Fire Department, which Mr. Hunt shared with the meeting.

The vehicle must stay indoors in winter, because it contains sensitive equipment. Mr. Hunt has sent out inquiries about other locations in the county.

The old Claverack Court building will be torn down, Claverack Supervisor Clifford “Kippy” Wiegelt announced at the meeting. Under consideration is what to build on its site. One proposal is to build a firehouse and have both the Mellenville and the Philmont fire departments move into it. Mr. Hunt and Mr. Wiegelt mentioned some implications, from deployment of firefighters when an alarm comes in to the reluctance of individual communities to give up their own firehouses.

Mr. Hunt also mentioned the possibility of updating the alarm law and clarifying what alarms could be declared false and thus subject to fines. “Personally, I don’t think people should be penalized if an alarm functions as it’s supposed to,” said Mr. Hunt. “If it goes off when you burn toast, it’s not a false alarm. I’d rather we make an extra trip than get a late call with a fatality. But if the equipment malfunctions regularly, it’s a false alarm.”

One proposal for false alarm fines has been to use the money for a new training facility.

After Mr. Hunt left, the committee interrupted its adjournment to pass a resolution calling for the full Board of Supervisors to include consideration of legalizing the sale of some types of fireworks in the County during designated weeks of the year. The full board is scheduled to meet October 12.

Committee members said that selling these fireworks is legal in all neighboring counties, though still illegal in about a third of the counties in the state. County Fire officials have remained unenthusiastic about making fireworks available here, citing the potential hazards.

The next Public Service Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 20, at 401 State Street in Hudson.

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