Fire Department Looks to FEMA for Help

By Haley Burton

Fire Department Looks to FEMA for Help

September 21, 2012 Updated Sep 21, 2012 at 5:41 PM EDT

Town of Nanticoke, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Glen Aubrey Fire Department flooded twice in 2011 cause thousands of dollars in repairs to their building and the equipment in it.

Senator Charles Schumer is calling on FEMA to allow the fire station to be relocated to higher ground.

Schumer has written a letter to Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, to express his support for the Glen Aubrey Fire Department's request for funding assistance with relocation.

"To have them rebuild the fire station, which they are eligible to get funding for, in the same place makes no sense. So I'm pushing FEMA to allow them to use the funds to build it in a new place," said Schumer (D-New York), "Usually when I push FEMA, I get results. I've had a lot of success, for instance, a lot of schools in Owego and Tioga County getting FEMA to allow them the money so they can build in a new place."

The Glen Aubrey Fire Department facility on Route 26 was flooded twice in 2011. After heavy rain in April 2011, four inches of water came in the building. Repairs on the facility took more than four months.

Gary Smith, Fire Chief, says he signed off on the renovation work on September 6, 2011. The next day, they were flooded again and even more water entered the building and damaged the equipment and facility. Both of these occasions left the fire station inoperable.

The fire department filed two insurance claims in 2011 for damages to their building and its contents.

"Between the two projects, it was over $350,000," said Terry Gow, Treasurer on Board of Directors for Glen Aubrey Fire Department.

Smith says the fire department being closed in these flood events prevents them from protecting the community by answering fire and emergency calls.

"We are an emergency services agency. We are a Red Cross Shelter. If I can't help myself and get in to the fire station. I can't help the community," said Smith.

The fire department has proposed a new location on Route 26. It's about one-half of a mile from its current location. Smith says it's in a spot that could keep them less prone to flooding in future heavy rain events.

"If we lose that piece of property, I am not sure there's anywhere else we can go in the Town," said Smith, "We've already put a deposit down but if FEMA doesn't change their mind and help us with funding, I'm worried we could lose the property to someone else."

Senator Schumer says the new location would save FEMA and the Glen Aubrey Fire Department thousands of dollars in the future. He says the one-time cost of relocating the Fire Department would be less than the continued cost of repairing the department if it remains in its current floodplain.

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