Perry Township Pioneers Insurance Claim | News, Sports, Jobs

Morgan Ahart | February 21, 2023

PERRY TOWNSHIP – Perry Township is claiming insurance coverage to replace equipment damaged by exposure to spilled chemicals while assisting with emergency relief after the train derailment in eastern Palestine.

At their Feb. 13 meeting, the trustees said the community had begun the claim process through the company and that a report of all affected materials was being compiled for both police and firefighters to file as part of the claim. Chairman Steve Bailey said that the community insurance company had recommended that the best thing to do was give them the report and that the company would then seek reimbursement of the replacement costs from the appropriate parties.

Bailey also said the insurer instructed her not to buy a replacement until an adjuster could review the claim and provide further advice to the community.

As a result, the trustees filed a request to purchase six new Motor 72 tires from Salem Tire Pros for $4,037.88 until the insurance company completed its inspection, and also requested a pause on further replacements until the inspection was completed. Bailey said that if the tires were covered by the insurance claim, there would be no need to re-tariff the decision because the cost of replacing them would not have to come from community funds.

Fire Chief Brandon Smith said he has already ordered the replacements for the seven sets of response equipment used in the field as they have a six to eight week delivery time and the department’s replacement equipment is “close to its expiration date”. and the delay risked having to remove seven men from the service. He also said the equipment was still necessary, and if the insurer denied claims for the replacement of the emergency equipment, it would not authorize use of the contaminated equipment.

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“I, as a fire chief, am not putting my name on this gear or putting people back in this gear,” Smith said.

Bailey agreed that the exposed equipment should be replaced and that the community would still replace the equipment in such a situation, but requested that no further orders be made until the community could further discuss the matter with their insurer. Bailey said the trustee’s request was simply because the procedure for replacing the equipment with the claim had not yet been established and insurers would often refuse to pay for costs not filed in accordance with their procedures.

“We have to make sure we’re following those guidelines because your deployment gear alone costs $20,000, and we don’t want them to come and say, ‘You didn’t do it right, so we’re not going to cover it.’ We don’t know the procedures yet,” Bailey said.

The Trustees and Smith also made the decision to decommission Engine 72 until its condition can be more accurately evaluated following its exposure during service in response to the department firefighter safety event.

“You can’t go wrong if you play it safe,” Smith said.

Smith also said the community has pictures of the smoke-covered engine from the incident and that potential contamination could be in “every little spot on this truck” or that problems could surface even years later due to the unprecedented nature of the incident and the exposure it is unclear what long-term effects the equipment would experience.

The trustees also approved an order to purchase a Freightliner plow truck for the community from Stoops Freightliner for $99,227 and to purchase a stainless steel bed and other plow accessories from Kalida Body Equipment for $82,500. The purchase will use funds typically used for paving and chippings and waterproofing projects that were not necessary in 2022. Bailey said the truck should be operational by the fall.

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It was also announced that the South Township Building would no longer be used as a polling station in the upcoming general election. Trustee Jim Armeni said anyone who voted there would change their polling location to the church in central South Lincoln and would be notified by the Elections Committee by mail. The South Building remains a backup polling station.

Other deals included approving a resolution to allocate $24,975.38 to the SFM Equipment Grant Fund for small tools and equipment.

The Board of Trustees will next meet on February 27 at 4:00 p.m.

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