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West Babylon school fire may have been caused by contractor

KW: Voters in the West Babylon School District should watch this case carefully. It’s funny, I recall seeing a report on line that said that the school district was refusing to identify the contractor, and that reporters felt that was a wrong position, and that the NY State Committee on Open Government had said it was a wrong position. But, really, I just can’t find that statement. So, not sure if it was modified, taken down, or just hard to find.

For what it is worth, the community should keep an eye on the situation and what reports coming out say. And, if the contractor’s negligence was a cause of the fire, people should investigate the bidding process and any relationships with the contractor and school officials or staff.

(excerpt from) Newsday
Marshal: Painting materials started school fire

By Joie Tyreel / February 25, 2010

The quick-moving fire that gutted a West Babylon elementary school last week started when plastic bags stuffed with combustible painting materials ignited after being left in a service hallway by a contractor working in the school’s gym, the Babylon Town fire marshal said Thursday…

West Babylon school district officials declined to comment on the cause of the fire or any liability issues. They also would not identify any contractors working in the building, but Superintendent Anthony Cacciola issued this statement on the school’s Web site:

“There has been a great deal of speculation as to the cause of the fire at South Bay Elementary School last week, and the media has already started reporting information from the Town Fire Marshal’s office. As the fire has resulted in a complex insurance claim, the district’s Board of Education and administration cannot comment on the cause of the fire or any other portion of the Fire Marshal’s report, which we have not yet received. Once we receive a copy of the report, and if permitted by the Town Fire Marshal, we will post the report in its entirety on the district Web site…”

Hanse did not identify the contractor. He said a written report on the fire would be ready in “a couple of weeks.”

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