September 1, 2014
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School demo next as city prepares to build Potowomut fire station
Warwick Beacon photo
SUITED FOR THE JOB: Dan Andrews and Massino Caicagni of AA Asbestos Abatement get ready to clean out Potowomut School in preparation for demolition.

Potowomut School has had many visitors in its history, but few as unusually clad as those who started working there last week. They wore white suits and facemasks as they removed asbestos ceiling tile, flooring and pipe insulation in preparation for the building’s demotion over the next month.

By this time next year, Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong expects a new fire station will be standing on the site. In addition to housing an engine company and possibly a rescue, the station will have a community meeting room – something lacking in Potowomut since the elementary school closed – and an office for a community police officer.

After delays over the demolition contract because it did not take into account asbestos abatement, the city has pushed ahead with the plan to provide Potowomut with a fire station and end its agreement with East Greenwich to provide fire coverage to the neighborhood. East Greenwich is paid about $350,000 annually for the service. But while East Greenwich responds to emergency and fire calls, so too do Warwick firefighters from the station on Cowesett Road.

With the closing of the school because of declining enrollment across the city – Potowomut students are now bused to Cedar Hill in Cowesett – Mayor Scott Avedisian named a commission to study possible uses for the property. After several meetings where uses of the building were considered, the commission recommended the fire station.

A station is not a new proposal.

It gained citywide approval in 2006, when voters endorsed a $2 million bond for its construction. However, concerned about the level of the city’s debt, Avedisian chose to put the fire station and other approved capital improvement projects on hold indefinitely.

Now the station is being viewed as a “no added cost” to the city. The savings generated by ending the East Greenwich contract is seen as more than enough for interest and principal on the bond issue. Armstrong does not anticipate any added personnel or equipment expenses. One of the two engine companies housed at the station next to Aldrich Junior High School would be relocated to Potowomut.

On Sept. 20, the city awarded a $136,600 contract to AA Asbestos Abatement of Johnston to conduct the asbestos abatement and demolition of the school. The company is removing equipment and outdated textbooks and other materials left by the school department. What the department left when it turned the building over to the city has been a bone of contention with the mayor. He called on schools to clean it up and, at one point, suggested city crews take on the task and bill the schools. As it has turned out, AA Asbestos Abatement is going to do the job with the $3,000 cost being passed on to the school department.

Earlier this month, the City Council awarded Saccoccio and Associates of Cranston a $153,973 contract to design the station.

“They’ll be able to fast track it,” Avedisian said last week of the architectural firm that has designed many municipal buildings, including fire and police stations.

Armstrong said he would meet with Saccoccio this week and that he hopes to soon have plans and specifications, which, after administrative approval, will go out for bid. In addition to bids for construction, Armstrong said he expects firefighters to apply for positions at the new station in June. By contract, union members have a right to request which station they are assigned to.

As for a rescue at the new station, Armstrong said the department would be reviewing the location of all department apparatus. The question is whether the Cowesett rescue would remain where it is or be relocated to Potowomut.

Whether the rescue remains in Cowesett or not, all Warwick firefighters across the city are trained EMTs and an engine company could respond to emergency calls.


Comments
14 comments on this item

How close is it to the nearest supermarket?

Hahahahah. Citizencane are you implying there is something wrong with shopping?if you want to give me a half hour off for lunch every day I'll be glad to not go shopping.....

No. I want you,and your feiiow firefighters to bring in whatever groceries are needed for the week,when you come to work.

Haha! So true!

A lot of the time you are not working with the same crew which makes it very difficult to shop until you know who is working. Most of the time someone does shop and bring food in, but there are occasions when it can't be done. Guys are being shifted around on a daily basis to fill spots. If I shop for one station that has 3 guys then get to work and are shifted around to a station that has 8 what am I gonna do? I'm sure as he'll not gonna just take a loss for the food I bought. Sounds easy until you look at the facts...

Citizenkane,

You forgot that firefighters all have to sit down for 3 formal "thanksgiving type" meals per day. I wonder if they say grace and thank the taxpayer for all of the lavish bennies they have. But Citizenkane, I wonder this. What about the firefighters who have full time construction jobs when they are not dozing for dollars? Do they brown bag it? For example, the Warwick Fire Fighter that owns a painting company that has been awarded several state contracts erecting staging and painting, (for example the URI clock tower project), do you think that the firefighters that he employees without workers comp., brown bag their lunch when they are on the clock for him, or do they bring a stove and cook a 3 course meal? If they left the job and went shopping do you think the owner T.P. would be upset? Would he feel that they were taking advantage of him?

But another thing that I ponder is this: What happens if they twist their back climbing the staging with the painting materials at the URI clock tower or at Green Hall? Who pays for the medical costs of the injury that happened not on city time? Look in the mirror. We do. So because the Warwick Firefighter that does not pay into comp, and does not have liability insurance, and hires firefighters as subs, he gets to undercut all of the other legitimate companies by like 35%. Then when he gets hurt on his other job, he comes to work, sets the table, drops a fork, bends over to pick it up and OUCH!! MY BACK !! 2/3 disability tax free !!

So, citizenkane, please stop heckling these poor firefighters that are risking their lives daily running into high rise buildings and lifting 400lb ladies and carrying them through the burning buildings. They need to eat hearty.

I love when you throw these crap comments out there. If you have one once of wrong doing, one guy that's abused the system, one guy that's gotten hurt not on the job, please bring the proof forward if not stop the random defamation. Three course meals.. That's funny, Ive been around along time and never seen it. Keep up the negative talk. If you want to switch places a work ONE day in our shoes feel free to ask. I know you wont. Love to hide behind the internet. Who is TP? Now I know your lying....

I looked up,the State web site to see if you had any credibility. There is nothing listed in terms of painting contracts. Nice try, love to smear the hard working fireman..... Keep it up. By the way the TEA PARTY is losing all it's steam...

All the public wants is proof.... I know you don't have it....

The outright fabrications are hilarious. How could someone even bid on a state job without proof of providing workers compensation first? And since when is a man slandered for working two jobs to provide for his family? If they were all so wealthy from their FD job like you are fond of claiming, none of them would have to work a second job. It's also ridiculous to think that every other firefighter would support outright fraud in such a manner when doing so puts those very benefits at risk should he ever be hurt on the job. Everyone knows there have been some bad apples in various fire depts. There are bad apples in every organization but its not condoned or celebrated by the rest of the guys on the job. Baseless accusations that an entire organization of 200 firefighters are knowingly complicent in fraud while providing not a single shred of evidence is reckless and ignorant. Furthermore, do you think these guys bang nails or push mowers for the thrill of it? They do it to try and make ends meet. Oh they have all that time off! It's not free time off, they work 48 hours work weeks on the FD. Oh but they get to try and sleep! Guess what chief, they answer every single call every single time no matter what. A taxpayer needs them, they are there 100% of the time. Oh and they call the WFD over 16,000 individual times a year. Steve D is correct, for the most part guys bring food in shopped for on their time off (and paid for by the firefighters, not the city) but sometimes there are circumstances where that was not feesable. Sorry it irks you but most people don't care and they enjoy interacting with guys out and about in the community.

But here is the real kicker, Cote. And this stings more than any witty quip I could produce about you. The vast majority of residents LOVE the Warwick Fire Dept. ( and 95% of those who dont are the same 5 people who rag on them here on the Beacon. ) When they considered closing a engine company, the residents united themselves to fight the move. The WFD isn't perfect but it's a damn good firefighting/ EMS organization and the people appreciate our efforts at providing them great service for their tax dollar. I know because we're told so all the time. I wish you could hear the adulations. We strive to always do the best job we can in both EMS and Firefighting. We deliver what we took an oath to, 100% of the time. So you can complain and throw false accusation after false accusation and sing to your minuscule choir on the DePetro Show but you can't stop the fact that we will always strive to deliver exactly what the taxpayers expect of us, and the majority of them are always going to view us favorably for it. Sorry.

Still waiting for one little ounce of proof from citizencote...

Hold on. Please don't link me with Cote! Just adding a little levity. I have the greatest respect for firefighters. As far as Cote goes,how does he have the tine to follow City workers around?

REGISTRATION STATUS LOOKUP

Status Report Residential/Contractor

(Pursuant to RIGL 5-65)

Contractor Information

Registration Number: 16971 Registration Type: Residential Contractor

P$#$%$# PAINTING

T***((& D. P(*(&&^

168 Vineyard Road

Warwick , RI 02889

(401)663-4249

Registration Status

Registration Current?: YES STATUS: VALID

Registration Issue Date: 2/26/1999 Registration Expiration Date: 8/1/2014

Number of Claims: 0 Number of Violations: 0

Registration Surrender Date: Company has Employees?: NO

Insurance Coverage

STATE LAW REQUIRES CONTRACTORS WITH ONE OR MORE EMPLOYEES TO HAVE A WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE POLICY. ADDITIONALLY , ALL REGISTERED CONTRACTORS THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD OF REGISTRATION SHALL HAVE IN EFFECT PUBLIC LIABILITY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE INSURANCE COVERING THE WORK OF THAT CONTRACTOR NOT LESS THAN FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS($500,000) COMBINED SINGLE LIMIT, BODILY INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE.

Liability Insurance Carrier: EMPLOYERS MUTUAL INS CO Expire Date: 7/1/2013

STATE LAW REQUIRES THAT CONTRACTORS HAVE IN EFFECT PUBLIC LIABILITY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE INSURANCE COVERING THEIR WORK.

IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CONTRACTOR TO ASSURE AN INSURANCE CERTIFICATE IS MAINTAINED AND ON FILE WITH THE CONTRACTORS REGISTRATION BOARD. THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW TO NOTIFY THE BOARD OF THE CANCELLATION OR FAILURE TO RENEW THE CONTRACTOR'S INSURANCE POLICY.

ACCORDING TO OUR RECORDS, THIS CONTRACTOR DOES NOT HAVE A VALID CERTIFICATE OF LIABILITY INSURANCE ON FILE WITH THE BOARD.

Fenceman, where's your proof of a scam? And when is it illegal to do other work on my spare time? You are all talk and no facts.

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