12/11/12 9:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO |  The Wading River firehouse outlived its life expectancy by nearly 10 years.

All of the fire departments in the Riverhead area will have uncontested elections for fire commissioner posts on Tuesday, but the Wading River Fire Department has a referendum on a proposal to build a new firehouse on Hulse Landing Road to replace the one currently there.

The Wading River proposal calls for demolition of the existing 5,132-square-foot firehouse, which was built in 1982, and replacing it with an 11,485-square-foot firehouse.

The total cost of the job is estimated at $5.75 million, but the district plans to use $1 million from reserve fund monies, bringing the amount of the bond to be voted on to $4.75 million.

The three-decade old fire station has outlived its life expectancy by nearly 10 years, according to district manager Greg Michalakopoulos.

The 5,000-square-foot, two-bay building houses five vehicles, one engine, ambulance, tanker and two fire police support vehicles, which need to be jockeyed around when they are used, he said.

The building has a leaky roof, the heating and cooling systems need to be replaced and there are problems with the underground LIPA lines, and the 25 member volunteers’ gear is stored right up against the engine, which is now against OSHA regulations, he said.

The new building will have an expected lifespan of 30 years, but the district plans to pay off the bond in 25 years, or less if possible, according to Mr. Michalakopoulos.

The tax impact is expected to add an average of $35 to $40 more in tax per year per household for 25 years in the Riverhead Town portion of the district, and an additional $50 to $60 per year per household in the Brookhaven Town side, officials said.

Voting will take place at the main fire headquarters on 1503 North Country Road in Wading River from 1 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

In addition to the vote on the firehouse, incumbent Wading River fire commissioner Tom Lateulere is running unopposed for a new five-year term.

Mr. Lateulere currently is the chairman of the commissioners.

In other districts, everything is unopposed on the ballot for fire commissioners, although a write-in vote is always possible.

In the Riverhead Fire District, incumbent Mark Conklin is unopposed for another five-year term. Voting is from 3-9 p.m. at the fire headquarters on 540 Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead.

In the Jamesport Fire District, longtime commissioner Jim Kane is not seeking reelection, and Robert Sikora is running unopposed for the five-year term.

Incumbent Jamesport treasurer Paul Epperlein is also running unopposed for a three-year term as treasurer.

Voting in Jamesport is from 3-9 p.m. at the fire house on 25 Manor Road in Jamesport.

In the Flanders fire district, incumbent David Schaffauer is running unopposed for a five-year term as commissioner. Voting is from 6-9 p.m. at the Firehouse on 19 Firehouse Lane in Flanders, which is off Flanders Road.

In the Manorville Fire District, which covers a portion of Riverhead Town, including EPCAL, incumbent commissioner Robert McCluskey is not seeking reelection, and Thomas Costello will run unopposed for a five-year term as commissioner.

Voting in Manorville is from 3-9 p.m. at the firehouse on 14 Silas Carter Road in Manorville.

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12/04/12 2:20pm
12/04/2012 2:20 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters check for fire at an Ostrander Avenue house where residents reported smoke in the basement Tuesday afternoon.

A downed electrical wire near downtown Riverhead caused one person’s fusebox to overload Tuesday afternoon, filling his basement with smoke, neighbors and fire officials said.

A homeowner was hanging Christmas lights at his house on the corner of Ostrander Avenue and East 2nd Street when the lights began to glow brightly, said 2nd assistant fire chief Kevin Brooks.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | LIPA workers make repairs to a downed wire on Ostrander Avenue Tuesday afternoon.

“Everything went bright, then everything went off,” he said. The homeowner reported that the fuse box was overloaded and began smoking, though fire officials could not yet confirm the cause of the smoke.

Mr. Brooks said Riverhead firefighters arrived on scene and used thermal cameras to try to locate if there was a fire in the residence, but found no evidence of a blaze.

Around the same time as smoke filled the basement, an electrical wire feeding the house snapped loose and fell into the street.

One neighbor was on her computer when she noticed a power surge in her home when the wire went down, she said.

It is not immediately clear what caused the wire to blow; a Riverhead Fire Marshall was on the scene to investigate the smoke.

LIPA crews arrived on scene and removed the downed wire. A section of Ostrander Avenue was briefly closed by town police.

By 1:45 p.m., police and fire crews had left the scene and reopened the road.

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