NEWBURGH – Following the fire and explosion at the Verla Industries manufacturing facility in New Windsor last year in which several Newburgh City firefighters were injured when they responded, Fire Chief Terry Ahlers assessed that a part of the problem was a lack of communication between and among fire departments.
He asked Senator William Larkin if he could secure some funding for a new radio system and on Tuesday, the lawmaker announced while at the city’s main firehouse that he was able to have the entire $250,000 price tag covered.
Ahlers said his firefighters did follow protocols when an explosion occurred at Verla. “They called mayday and nobody could hear them.”
“The City of Newburgh deserves the proper care as anyone else,” Larkin said, noting that firefighters risk their levels every time they go into a burning building.
“Let us all work together. Let us help one another and let us remember we are put on this earth to help our neighbor, our brother, our sister,” he said.
“Larkin does it again,” Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois exclaimed when the announcement was made.
District Attorney David Hoovler took the occasion of the announcement to urge the city to find the money to fully fund the fire department. A dozen firefighters, paid for by a soon-to-expire federal grant, will be laid off if no additional money is secured by this summer.