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Police & Fire

Lawsuit Claims Golden's Bridge Fire Department Caused Blaze At Own Building

The Golden's Bridge firehouse, pictured, is under reconstruction due to a 2014 fire. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie
The Golden's Bridge firehouse, pictured, is under reconstruction due to a 2014 fire. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

GOLDENS BRIDGE, N.Y. -- A federal lawsuit is blaming the Golden's Bridge Fire Department for causing a 2014 fire that severely damaged its own firehouse. 

The lawsuit was filed late last month by Arch Insurance Company, which was acting "as a lawful contractual subrogee" of the Golden's Bridge Fire District.

Although the fire department is the user of the building, it is owned by the fire district. 

The fire district governs the fire department, which is a non-profit corporation made up of volunteers. The district, which is headed by an elected board of fire commissioners, helps to pay for fire protection through levying taxes and setting annual budgets.

The firehouse is located at 254 Waccabuc Road.

Arch is seeking more than $9.1 million in damages from the fire department, which it claims was negligent in the maintenance of a 1998 Chevrolet Suburban that was stored in the building.

The fire was caused due to a problem with the vehicle and spread because the fire department failed to close a door that was kept open because of recent training, the lawsuit claims.

A copy of the complaint can be read here.

Last May, voters approved a $2.7 million bond to pay for reconstruction of the firehouse, which is now underway. The overhaul also includes an expansion. A settlement with the insurer was announced last February, according to a press release issued by the district, which added that the financial terms were confidential.

It is not clear what prompted Arch to sue the fire department.

Neither a spokesperson for the fire department, nor Board of Fire Commissioners Chairman Edward Brancati, could be reached for comment.

Brancati expressed skepticism of the lawsuit's chances in an interview with The New York Post, which first reported on the litigation. The story erroneously refers to Brancati as the fire chief, which is the fire department's top post. 

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