Saturday, January 06, 2018

Fire Aftermath: Iced

PLATTSBURGH, NY - 01/06/18

Yesterday firefighters tolerated sub-zero temps while battling the stubborn fire at 72 Brinkerhoff Street.   These images taken today show the severity of the wintry conditions as firefighters spent hours containing and extinguishing the blaze.

(Click on each image to enlarge.)

Friday, January 05, 2018

Stubborn Blaze Battles Firefighters


They kept pouring the water on but the flames kept popping back up despite the deluge.

This afternoon a fire erupted at 72 Brinkerfoff Street, a three story wooden house dating back to 1895.  Plattsburgh City Fire Department received a call about the blaze around 2:50 PM.

The flames appeared to be centered inside on the top floor, eating away at the roof. Firefighters directed high pressure hoses from the ground and from an aerial ladder hovering above roof level.  

Sub-zero temps added to the difficulty of containing the blaze.  The spraying water coated the firefighter's black coats with white frost and also transformed trees into ice sculptures.

Sometimes dense gray smoke erupted, obscuring the view. Only flashing red and yellow fire truck lights penetrated the dirty cloud.  People smelled the smoke blocks away.  It seeped into buildings, tainting the air in the public library down the street.

From an open front door water gushed out, flowing down the street.  Steam rose up from the gutter river.  Ashen debris pooled in places.

The fire department had evacuated the building next door.  One of the displaced tenants waited at the public library.  He said he couldn't moved his recently purchased car.  He also had to leave his medication behind.

From the fire damage it appeared the house was a total loss.  The building was empty, its college student tenants away for the winter break.

An initial report suggested an unattended portable heater had tipped over, setting off the blaze.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Bad Communication, Bad Personality


James Bosley, Planning Technician 
Clinton County Planning Department 

[ Note: I'm posting a copy of this email on my blog.]

The bus never showed up.

Today I arrived at the CCPT bus stop ten minutes early to catch the 4 PM Lyon Mountain bus for a quick trip to the mall.  Another person was also waiting but his destination was way beyond the mall.  After 25 minutes in the cold another bus pulled in.  We asked the driver if the Lyon Mountain bus was delayed.

She rudely told us that service was closed down, that we should know because it was "in the news." She acted as if it was our fault for not following "the news" every minute to catch the announcement.  Her attitude: Not my problem.  I could still get to the mall but I didn't know how the other person was going to get home.

Plattsburgh City operates a mailing list that anyone can join to get the latest official announcements.  I went to the CCPT website and I didn't see any option to join a similar list.  The last update posted on the home page referred to buses back in December not running due to cold weather.  Like "the news" I don't check the CCPT site every day.  Even if I did there was no mention of the Lyon Mountain service being shut down.

It shouldn't be hard for the county to set up its own email alert list.  I do check my email every day but not "the news," whatever that's supposed to mean.

Another suggestion: customer relations training for the drivers.  This wasn't the first time I've been treated rudely even though I don't "act up" like some drivers.  Maybe I would get more respect by being rude instead of polite.  So much for being reasonable.

So if you decided to properly serve the public with an email alert list please put my address first.

UPDATE: James Bosley replied to my complaint..  Excerpting his email he wrote: "I am hopeful we will be able to review camera footage from the bus and see how the driver handled that situation, and do some coaching/retraining if necessary."

Regarding the bus cancellation he wrote: "I tried to get an announcement posted on the CCPT website, but I have to go through our IT department and they are not always available to do the posting right away. I hope to have direct access to the CCPT website later this year. We have a Facebook page for CCPT now and I make posts anytime we are concerned about the weather or have to shut down a route due to lack of buses. The radio and television news media have been great about getting our cancellation notices out recently."

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Broken Promises, Broken Bones?


Every winter it seems Plattsburgh City is going to be on top of the snow removal problem with public sidewalks.  Meetings are held, options are discussed and this time it will be different.

And every winter pedestrians are disappointed.  Back on December 9th the Press Republican ran an article entitled "City residents reminded of snow laws" that excerpted and paraphrased a Plattsburgh City news release.  As before public sidewalks adjacent to a property have to be cleared by the property owner within 24 hours after the city declares a snow emergency has ended.

And then there was this item from the news release: "If unable to remove snow/ice with hand-operated device, please make sure the sidewalk is covered by a substance to prevent slippery conditions."

Substances could be salt or a sand-salt mixture.

But long sections of sidewalk downtown remain covered with glare ice, extremely slippery, bare of any traction-producing substances.  And to add to the problem some sidewalks on properties remain treacherous.  

For example I almost fell while walking slowly and carefully on the icy sidewalks at the arts center.  One spot was extra slick but I caught myself in time.   No signs of salt/sand application. Apparently an artist is supposed to create new works with an arm in a cast.

Kudos to those who cleared sidewalks down to the bare concrete and then added salt.  Not everyone is an idiot or a scofflaw.