Town Office Burns Twice in Three Days

The Amity Town Office caught fire twice in Three days. The first fire on Monday January 10, 2005 was caused by a faulty heating apparatus. This fire was caught early and extinguished by Town manager Darrell Williams. Darrell had stopped in earlier that morning to start the heater that had been having trouble staying running. After starting the heater, Darrell returned home and called a service technician to come and fix the heater. About a half hour later Darrell was on his way to work in Oakfield where he is also Town Manager, when he decided to check on the heater in Amity. He found flames shooting out of the top of the heater and up the wall. Darrell grabbed a nearby extinguisher and doused that fire. This first fire caused some smoke damage that required airing out of the files and some professional cleaning.

The cleaners had not yet been to the town office when the second fire hit in the early morning hours on January 13, 2005. This fire was spotted by an observant truck driver who saw the flames coming through the roof of the town office. He immediately called the fire department and tried to extinguish the fire with his own extinguisher but the building was too far involved at this time.

Read more: Town Office Burns

Town Receives Summons for
“ Burning Prohibited Material”.

Amity has a date in court on the 19 th of this month according to a summons issued by Forest Ranger Jeremiah Crockett for “burning prohibited material”.

The Town Officials (scroll down to see update!!) decided to haul the remains of the twice-burned Town Office to the fields behind Joe Ledger’s house and some of it to the Town Gravel Pit for a third burning. One would think that Joe, the Town Fire Warden, would know this act was illegal since he was supposed to attend some classes when appointed as Fire Warden. He was on the Board of Directors for the Katahdin Valley Waste Disposal District since its inception and is still the alternate representative for the Town. Instead of picking up the telephone and asking the best way to dispose of this material, the Selectmen decided to put the Town at risk by just piling up the debris and burning it. It took four nights to burn all the debris in the Ledger fields! State law requires someone in attendance with tools until the fire is out. Who tended it during the day as it burned and smoldered?

A nonresident called the Department of Environmental Protection with questions about possible pollution of the aquifer resulting from such an action before the burning began. Are you aware The Town Gravel Pit sits over one of the largest aquifers in the State of Maine? Your Selectmen know it! Selectman Glen Clifford has mentioned this numerous times with, what I thought, was great pride. Why ever would you want to run the risk of polluting it?

Read more: Town Illegally Burns Office Debris

DEP’s job is to educate citizens, towns, and businesses on waste hazards not just punish them! Amity officials get education.

Selectmen Joe Ledger and Glen Clifford, along with Town Manager Darrell Williams, met with Jeremiah Crockett, Forest Service, and Lou Pizzuti from the Department of Environmental Protection at the Amity Town Office. The Town is definitely in violation of several rules and regulations concerning air quality and improper disposal of construction debris and ash. You cannot transport demolition debris to another site for burning.

Lou said that if someone had just called his office for advice none of this would have happened. Even Barry Higgins, our Code Enforcement Officer, was not consulted on the best way to take care of the debris from the fire. Lou said, “Ignorance of the laws is not excuse and no one is above the law – local, state, or federal.” I feel you really cannot expect our Selectmen to know all the laws, but you would expect them to consult the people they hire that are supposed to have the codes and rules.

Read more: Amity Selectmen meet with DEP

Special Selectman’s Meeting
July 19, 2005

The meeting opened at 6:59 pm with thirteen citizens present, an excellent turnout.

Chairman Glen Clifford said the special meeting had been called to explain what was going on with DEP and the Forest Service. The Forest Service had been taken care of today. Town Manager Darrell Williams explained the town had pled guilty to the charge of burning prohibited material and received a $100 fine. Darrell also said that Lou Puzzuti would be at the town office at 10:30 on Friday. He will visit the sites and then decide what to do after that.

Read more: Special Meeting