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Leaks or not, village water quenches fire


CHATHAM – The Village Board discussed water and fire at the board’s regular meeting Thursday, July 14.

“I want to thank you for your wonderful service for putting that fire out,” Mayor Tom Curran told Fire Chief Paul Pratt, referring to a structure fire on the corner of Hudson and Bushnell avenues early Wednesday, July 13.

Chief Pratt said the fire company used up to 100,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire, saying in his report, “That is a great testament to the village water system.” He also said residents were alerted to the fire by smoke detectors. The house at 162 Hudson Avenue was used to board cast and crew for the Mac-Haydn Theater.

Firefighters were dispatched to the blaze at 2:45 a.m., and while the structure was ruined by the fire, there were no fatalities or injuries. Chief Pratt said there was mutual aid from Ghent, Red Rock, Valatie, East Chatham and Niverville, and Spencertown was on stand-by. He praised those companies for using “shared services” to help keep the fire at bay.

“Both our holey water tower and our leaky reservoir worked perfectly,” said Trustee George Grant of the water sources used to put out the fire in his water and sewer report. At a special Water and Sewer Committee meeting last month the board heard about leaks in the water tower and reservoir from village engineer Pat Prendergrast.

Mr. Grant told the group at Thursday night’s meeting that village officials were seeking cost estimates for coating the water to eliminate the leaks. Officials also reviewed and voted on several water relief issues in the village, ranging from filling swimming pools, for which home owners receive some credit on their sewer bills, to a situation in which leaks in pipes tripled a landlord’s water bills. In the landlord’s case, the village granted some relief.

The board heard from Fran Martino from the Stockport Watershed about many projects intended to protect the watershed that encompasses the Kinderhook and Claverack creeks. Ms. Martino proposed putting up a sign in front of the Tracy Memorial, the village hall, directing people to a website about the watershed, The board approved the sign and will have information about the watershed at the office.

Also as the meeting the board:

*Reviewed a draft noise ordinance written by Trustee Leal Locke that would impose fines on people making excessive noise between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. in the village. Trustees decided to refer the draft law to village lawyer Dick Alford to review before holding a public hearing

*Adopted a motion to hire Cheryl Roberts as special counsel to the board, as well as the Planning and Zoning boards, for any issue dealing with the Hampshire Company’s plans to expand the plaza on Route 66. Trustee Joanne DelRossi said they previously worked with Ms. Roberts and said she is very knowledgeable about the issues.

“I think the stakes are rather high on this project,” said Mayor Curran, “It could go south very fast.”

*Granted permission to local artist Melissa Sarris to use the gazebo on the green for Expert Talks on Thursday July 21, 28, August 4 and August 11. Ms. Sarris said that experts in different subjects would give a brief talk and possibly lead an activity like drumming or cooking.

*Heard the mayor say he is talking with CSX, the railroad company, about the parking lot project proposed for the space between the railroad tracks and the buildings that face Main Street. Mayor Curran says the discussions now include just roping off some parking and possibly marking the spaces behind the stores along the west side of the street.

The next regular meeting will be Thursday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email    

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