04/21/15 7:00pm
04/21/2015 7:00 PM
Chip Bancroft, vice president of the Suffolk County Fire Chiefs Council

Chip Bancroft, vice president of the Suffolk County Fire Chiefs Council

The Vice President of the Suffolk County Fire Chiefs Council said his organization will file oversight complaints against Riverhead Town with the state Codes Division if the town doesn’t increase the number of fire marshals it has.

Chip Bancroft, the vice president of the county group, addressed the Town Board on the issue Tuesday night, saying that based on town fire marshal reports he received through a Freedom of Information Law request, the town’s fire marshals completed only 238 building inspections in 2014 out of a total of 1,829 commercial properties, or 13 percent, due to the high workload they have. They also investigated 22 structure fires, eight vehicle fires, six hazardous material reports, one carbon monoxide case and 61 other cases.

By law, all commercial properties must be inspected once a year.

If the oversight complaints are filed, the state will come down and start helping with inspections, for which they would charge the town a fee, and it could also issue fines, Mr. Bancroft said.

Riverhead Town currently has two full time fire marshals and one part timer.

The town cut one fire marshal position in 2011, a move that drew the ire of local fire departments.

Supervisor Sean Walter questioned the numbers Mr. Bancroft cited, even though Mr. Bancroft got those numbers from the town.

“I would love to show you what the fire marshal shows me as to what they have to inspect and, in fact, it’s nowhere near 1800,” Mr. Walter said.

The supervisor said the town has plans to hire a fire prevention inspector using money the town receives from false alarm fines, money that currently is made available to the individual fire departments.

The difference between a fire marshal and a fire prevention inspector, other than the fire marshal having a higher salary, is that the fire marshal can do more things, such as investigating a fire, issuing summons, investigating hazardous material incidents, reviewing site plan applications and inspecting commercial buildings for fire safety compliance, according to Mr. Bancroft.

The fire prevention inspector would primarily inspect commercial buildings for code compliance, but Mr. Walter says that’s where the problem is, plus the inspector could work on weekends when many special events take place.

“How many fire marshals do you think this town needs?” Mr. Walter asked Mr. Bancroft.
“At least two more,” Mr. Bancroft responded. He acknowledged, however, that the fire prevention inspector would help.


04/07/15 2:00pm
04/07/2015 2:00 PM

The Riverhead Town Board on Tuesday approved a new five-year contract with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance corps that, for the first time, will allow the corps to begin billing the insurance companies of people involved in automobile accidents that require ambulance service.

Town officials have said the move can bring in about $400,000 per year  in revenue.

The ambulance corps will still need to hire a billing company, and to obtain computer hardware and software and training in how to use it, according to RVA board of directors member Ron Rowe. The corps also will need an office and a secure location to store records, he said.

Also Tuesday:

• The Town Board approved Sonoma Grill’s application to have a live music at the new restaurant it plans at the site of the former Riverhead Project.

• Hired an outside law firm, McGiff Halverson LLP of Patchouge, to handle the town’s lawsuit against Gershow Recycling.

• Approved a $10,000 settlement with the owners of the BJ’s/Kmart shopping center for illegally clearing trees along Route 58.

• Ordered the town engineering department to being removing a cupola built on a Baiting Hollow home owned by Eugene Lafurno that the town maintains is too tall and not safe.

To read what else happened at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, click below to read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting, and scroll down for the full meeting agenda and resolution packet.



Live Blog Riverhead Town Board 04-07-2015

April_7,_2015_-_Agenda by Timesreview

April_7,_2015_-_Packet by Timesreview

02/27/15 8:33pm
02/27/2015 8:33 PM
Riverhead senior Ed Matyka wrestles Peter Pappas of Plainview in the first round Friday of the state championship. (Credit: Paul Wager)

Riverhead senior Ed Matyka wrestles Peter Pappas of Plainview in the first round Friday of the state championship. (Credit: Paul Wager)

There will be no state champion for Shoreham-Wading River this season. But the Wildcats still have a chance for a memorable finish.

All three Shoreham wrestlers advanced to the second day of the New York State Wrestling Championships Friday at Times Union Center in Albany. Riverhead senior Ed Matyka won a pair of matches as well to advance. (more…)

02/18/15 5:30pm
02/18/2015 5:30 PM


The Riverhead Town Board tabled a vote tonight on approving an agreement with the Pataki-Cahill Group, a “specialized business development firm” headed by former Gov. George Pataki.

The firm would be hired through a professional services contract — meaning no bid would be required — to market property at Enterprise Park at Calverton. (more…)