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Council Reviews Claim for Repair of Door WFD Forced on Fire Call

Warwick City Hall. CREDIT: Joe Hutnak
Warwick City Hall. CREDIT: Joe Hutnak

Warwick, RI – The Warwick City Council meets tonight, 7 p.m., at City Hall, where they’ll consider a claim against the City by a woman whose door was broken down by Warwick firefighters in March when she left her house with her wood stove burning.

Tanya Ferrera of Canna Street left her house March 31 while her wood stove was burning, returning to find the Warwick Fire Department had been called there in her absence by a neighbor who had seen the smoke from her stove coming from the home’s chimney, according to City documents filed with the claim.

Firefighters arrived at the home at about noon and attempted to reach someone inside, but no one answered.

“At the time the smoke was excessive, partially filling the street, and several lights were on in the residence,” wrote Warwick Officer Gilda Fortier in her report on the fire call, to which she was also dispatched.

Fortier also noted that several calls had been made to Ferrara’s cell phone in an attempt to reach her.

Believing the house may have been on fire, and that occupants inside might be in danger, firefighters broke in the front door, finding no one inside. They also determined there was no fire, only a very smoky wood stove.

According to a report attached to the claim, the firefighters secured the door as best they could and left a note explaining what had happened.

At about 2 p.m., Ferrera returned to find the damaged door and the note. Estimates on a repair range form $1,600 to $2,210.

Deputy Chief Bruce C. Cooley recommended denying the claim, according to City records. “Based on the type of alarm received by our dispatch center, the conditions presenting upon arrival at the scene, and a review of the report made by the company officer, it is my opinion that the forcible entry made by the members of the Warwick Fire Department were (sic) just and prudent,” Cooley wrote to the Council.

Also on the Council’s agenda:

  • A resolution amending City law so that, starting in fiscal year 2015,  failure to pay the first installment by the last date of the installment period, the tax collector may only require full payment of the late installment, and may charge interest only on that portion of the bill.
  • Mayor Scott Avedesian’s appointment of Bernadette McDowell to the Westbay Community Action board of directors.
  • A resolution requesting the City Council Auditor to respond to an email sent by Councilman Steve Merolla May 1. The email requested information from the City Council Auditor regarding the City’s pension plans and healthcare costs, but there has been no response, according to the resolution. The resolution sets a Nov. 1 deadline for the Auditor to send the information.

For more detail on the resolutions and tonight’s meeting, consult the attached .pdf of the City Council Docket. The Council meets in Council Chambers, Warwick City Hall, 3275 Post Road.7 p.m.

Council Docket 10-20-2014

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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