WALLINGFORD — The Town Council allocated $46,836 this week to replace firefighter gear contaminated by chemical exposure in an industrial fire.
Fire Chief Richard Heidgerd said four sets of turnout gear were exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals during a mutual aid response to a fire on Nov. 24 at Parker-Hannifin Corp., 33 Defco Park Road in North Haven.
“Our crew was the second arriving engine company,” Heidgerd said. “We were actually doing the fire attack, so we were in the building, in the exposed area.”
A turnout gear ensemble includes boots, pants, coat, hood, helmet, gloves, radio strap and self-contained breathing apparatus.
The gear, except for the breathing apparatus, can’t be decontaminated and has to be destroyed, he said, a recommendation from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Although the damage is not visible, “the chemicals would degrade the equipment such that it’s not safe,” he said.
Heidgerd said he anticipates that the town’s insurance will reimburse the majority of the funds. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said the town is pursuing an insurance claim.
The Wallingford Fire Department currently is using spare gear. Each firefighter is fitted with an ensemble sized to the firefighter’s body, but the spare sets are not fitted.
“It’s still tested, inspected and perfectly good,” he said, “but at the end of its life-cycle.”
North Haven Fire Chief Paul Januszewski said Wednesday he expects the fire’s cause and origin report to be completed this week.
He added that he also expects a final figure for his department’s equipment replacement costs, estimated at $800,000.
Reporter Bailey Wright contributed to this story.
Read more articles like this and help support local journalism by subscribing to the Record Journal.
Unlimited Digital Access just 99¢
Read more articles like this by subscribing to the Record Journal.
Unlimited Digital Access for just 99¢