NY town bills man for water used to extinguish his house fire

Laura Byrne Contributor
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A New York town is charging Mike Petrio $1,400 for water — and not the kind Petrio might have showered in or cooked with.

The fee is for the water the fire department used to put out a fire that destroyed his home, according to the Times Union.

Petrio’s house in the Town of Brunswick caught on fire last week, and it took several fire companies a whole nine hours to extinguish the flames, Eagle Mills volunteer fire department chief Tom Martin told the newspaper.

Firefighters had to drive a mile to fill their tanker trucks in the neighboring Town of Poestenkill, however — a municipality that buys its water from Brunswick. So Petrio, the town’s managers say, has to foot the bill.

Martin told the Times Union that firefighters can’t be too discerning with which hydrants they use when they are putting out fires.

“When we go out to a reported fire, this type of situation never enters our mind,” Martin explained.

Flames swept through Petrio’s entire home blowing out the windows and caving in the roof.  The house is likely a total loss.

Dom Jacangelo, a town supervisor, told the Times Union that the water bill is “to recover the resources put out by the taxpayers of Poestenkill.” There are other hydrants in Brunswick that are just as close to Petrio’s home as the one firefighters used in Poestenkill.

Jacangelo believes Petrio’s home insurance will cover the bill and the bill could be reduced.

But Martin, the fire chief, said the homeowner should not be held responsible at all for the bill. He announced that his volunteer fire department will hold a fundraiser to help Petrio pay fo rthe water and build a new home.

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