December 20, 2014
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Firefighters want new equipment
‘Absolutely safe,’ administration says of trucks on the road
Warwick Beacon photos
CITING CONCERNS: Before an audience packed with firefighters, William Lloyd, president of the Warwick Firefighters, tells the City Council of needs to maintain and replace aging department equipment.

In a display of unity that came as a surprise to some in the administration, about 90 firefighters, wearing black T-shirts, filled a section of Council Chambers Monday in support of their union president, William Lloyd, and his claim that the city’s fire apparatus is in need of repair and replacement.

Acting chief of staff William DePasquale said he knew nothing of the demonstration until he arrived at the council meeting. The firefighters sat respectfully through council committee hearings and zone changes for an Apponaug Hotel and the House of Hope, before Lloyd had the opportunity to address members during the public comment portion.

Lloyd described how a rescue truck had broken down and said equipment is missing critical maintenance and repairs. He said reserve apparatus, equipment that has been replaced by newer equipment, is being brought back on line to fill in for failing equipment. (He also put in a word for those firefighters who were reprimanded after a video showing them at a Greenwich Bay Marina cookout was posted on YouTube. A hazmat truck parked near the marina gazebo was pictured and it was determined the firefighters were on duty.)

“We have rescue apparatus being towed from scenes, we have pumps failing our members as they enter homes, and we watch the six o’clock news, with our members being videotaped as a member of the public sits in a rescue truck for 45 minutes as it broke down and they had to wait for a mutual aid company from another community,” he said.

Lloyd said the average frontline truck is at least 12 years old and a truck puts on 28,000 miles a year. He said Ladders 1 and 3 are 16 and 20 years old, respectively.

“An effective repair and replacement plan must be put in place,” he said.

As for the YouTube video of firefighters at Greenwich Bay Marina, Lloyd said:

“They love their job in Warwick, they love the community of Warwick. That being said, to have a one-minute, 38-second tape change the opinion of individuals and have them reprimanded and disciplined from innuendo for attending a community event, not a general pizza party, is appalling to us.”

Firefighters rose to applaud Lloyd and then left the chambers.

“We heard their concerns loud and clear,” DePasquale said Tuesday.

He said the issue is balancing the tax burden with that of investing in new equipment and infrastructure. He did not limit the concern solely to fire equipment, but also noted the need for road improvements and to update police and municipal equipment.

He said the situation isn’t a surprise, as the city has deferred capital improvements during the recession in a deliberate effort to ease the impact on taxpayers.

But, has the city reached a point where equipment is failing and could be a danger to the department as well as the public?

“It’s absolutely safe. There’s no public safety issue. It [equipment] has been maintained properly,” DePasquale said.

DePasquale made his appraisal after meeting with Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong earlier in the morning. He said the chief assured him, and the mayor, that the equipment is safe.

Armstrong did not respond to calls about the condition of department equipment.

DePasquale said he wants a list of city equipment by department that shows its age, condition and projected life span.

“I want to look and see where we stand,” he said.

“Let’s look at all the apparatus and equipment and our needs,” he added.

As is the practice during the public comment session, the council sat silently throughout Lloyd’s comments.

Asked yesterday whether he had any concerns over the ability of the department to respond to emergencies, Ed Ladouceur (D-Ward 5) said, “I have no idea what prompted their presentation; I guess we’ll find out. The chief hasn’t said anything to me about equipment.”

Ladouceur said he would have expected, if firefighters had issues with the equipment, “they would have brought them to the attention of the chief and he bring it to us.”

The Department of Public Works has performed maintenance on fire apparatus for years.

“We have qualified mechanics who have been maintaining the equipment for an easy 20 years and we’ve never had a problem,” David Picozzi, DPW director said yesterday.

“We’ve never had an issue with maintenance here. I don’t understand where it’s coming from.”


Comments
48 comments on this item

Maybe now the mayor will go to retiree's about concessions. City services are getting squeezed. Schools are falling apart. Taxpayers have been decimated by the annual tax raises. Failure of the mayor to address this could cost lives. The time for leadership and tough decisions is past. Now just do the only option left. Don't get me wrong. I know taxes are going to continue to rise as long as Avedisian is mayor. I would just rather see the increased revenue go to equipment and building repairs.

How does a city of this size not have a list of equipment and expected replacement schedule. I guess using trucks from West Warwick, East Greenwich, north providence, Cranston, etc.. Doesn't mean we have an equipment problem.

Steve I will tell you why. From 2004 - 2014 new tax dollars allocated to the city budget was $29,051,626.

Retireed employee expenses took $14,904,403 or 51.3 percent of that money

Active employee benefit expenses took $13,315,757 or 45.8 percent of that money

All other programs and services in the city budget took $831,466 or 2.9 percent of that money.

That's why ----

there is no money for new firefighting equipment

there is no money to repair our pot hole filled dangerous roads (Mayor's plan float 15- 20 year bonds to pave roads that will last 10 years)

there is no money for elderly programs and programs for the needy

there is no money for after school youth programs

there is no money to make schools fire safety compliant and fix leaking roofs

there is no money to repair our recreational areas

there is no money for employee raises

there is not enough money to balance the budget, hence dipping into the rainy day fund for $3.6 million when no one is getting a raise

It's not going to get better. Why, for example we plan on spending over $314,000,000 (million) in the next 14 year on 1 pension plan to reduce the accued liability by $4.6 million leaving $229,000,000 in unfunded liability.

We don't even know how much new money will be needed to cover all the other pension plans and lidetime healthcare costs because the mayor doesn't want the experts to calculate and disclose those numbers.

Well finally we can all see that the Emperor (Mayor Scott Avedisian) has no clothes on. His fiscal policies have and continue to decive, continue to drive the city deeper and deeper into debt, continue to hurt our employees and now are

POSING A RISK TO THE SAFETY OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

We need a new mayor if we ever expect to hear the truth about Warwick's financial situation. This mayor needs to stay in power to protect his political career. Once he leaves city hall the next mayor will let us know what category the fiscal hurricane we're in is.

sky high property taxes, car extortion taxes, sales taxes and fees fees fees = $280 million extracted from Warwick residents and businesses and it's still not enough to cover even basic repairs and upkeep.

When public sector unions get neutered by the supreme court sometime in the next few years; only then will there be any hope for this city and state.

Can one of the angry bloggers please list here a complete pay/benefits/retirement plan for police and fire that you feel is suitable. Everyone posts about what city employees shouldn't get but can you tell us what they should get. Interested to hear what you feel a top step police officer or fireman should be paid, how many years of service until retirement, healthcare, vacation time etc...

What does a soldier deserve? Deserve doesn't have anything to do with it. A better question would be what can the residents afford? Maybe the residents expect a level of services that they just can't afford.

You have to hand the firefighters credit......they can spin a story better than bill Clinton......they were caught partying at the boat club but they expect the taxpayers to believe they were performing community service.....it's laughable that they would think the public is that stupid......everyone knew that the talk about equipment was a trick to draw focus away from their inappropriate behavior at the club....the equipment has to be upgraded because all the wear and tear driving constantly to the supermarkets......take away all the rescue runs the fire dept makes with ladder equip etc. and the fire equip is hardly ever used.

Reality.. How out of touch you are. I'm glad someone who doesn't have one clue about the story decided to comment on it. Good luck with that. The right people know the truth that's all we care about.

Hey, the Cops get nice new cars, even the DPW got a couple of new trucks, so what if the firetrucks can't pump water or the meatwagon breaks down with a full cardiac arrest in the back.

Heres what needs to change with the firefighter contracts:

1. Everyone pays 2 The5% healthcare cost.

2. Co pays need to be increased, no one in the private sector has a $10 copay.

3. All sick day buy back bonuses end immediately.

4. The 20 day sick day policy is immediately cut in half, no accumulation of sick days.

5. This nonsense of 14 paid holidays is cut In half to only federal holidays.

6. If a firefighter has another business it must be declared and they must pay a higher healthcare rate as we know, many guysin the pazt have gone off on injury sustained off t he job.

7. Minimum manning ends and so goes the end of strategic sick outs for OT.

8. No vehicle leaves unless on call, no vehicles at stop & shop, marina parties, Oakland Beach etc...I

How's that for starters Stevie D?

Oh, one more thing, no one takes any pension money until age 60. This BS of 20 and out is just nothing more than abuse of the taxpayer.

Why don't you start by telling the truth about your video...

The three guys you claim were abusing the truck have brought in excess of 7 million in grant money that they wrote themselves for this city.

Steve,

You are delusional. Point to the grant money by line item in the budget, as all grant income is itemized. Makes no difference, they do not get a pass for screwing off.

I'm delusional, you are like my psycho ex girlfriend waiting in the bushes

By the way it is in the budgets last three years each grant that those three guys wrote and won for the city. My point is they are solid city workers who care about the city very much do you really think they would be screwing off. Why do you only show a minute in your video. Why not show it all..... Your a joke and everyone but you knows it...

Wow, Bob Cushman, I am sorry, but you are WAY off. First off, I see alaundry list of complains, but no working solutions. Please come up with that list for us taxpayers. Secondly, I have seen firefighters in the supermarkets, with their trucks outside at the curb, MANY times. The firefighters are always laughing, happy and joking with people as they do their evening shopping. Clearly they are very friendly guys, which is amazing considering the deadly work that they do. Even though they may be in the grocery store, there has NEVER, EVER been a time when their services were needed that I have had to wait more than 5 minutes for them to show up and do their jobs, and do it well! !!!! Bob Cushman, there are a LOT of things that one can complain about in this city and this state. The list is endless. But the brave members of the Warwick Fire Depaertment is NOT one of them sir!!!!

@falina- please reread my post and give me the exact line where I posted anything that warrants your criticism of me.

My post simply states the facts that show why there is no money anywhere in the budget when less than 3 cents of every new tax dollars allocated to the city budget over the last decade was not associated with retired and active employee benefits.

To break it down further over 51 percent of those new dollars was allocated to retired emotes pension and healthcare.

How can any entity exist and expect the level of services from current employees when over half of every new dollar collected pats for services that were performed in the past?

"Even though they may be in the grocery store, there has NEVER, EVER been a time when their services were needed that I have had to wait more than 5 minutes for them to show up and do their jobs, and do it well! "

Geez, how many times do you call them? House catch on fire weekly or something? What a shill.

Of course, they're smiling...they're the 1%'ers.

Why does this article explain what they wore to the meeting? Do firefighters ever go anywhere NOT wearing some firefighter T-shirts? Or not drive a truck covered in IAFF stickers?

FYI, most FD shirts are related to fundraisers or charities of some kind. There are many residents who are unfortuanately regular users of the Warwick fire dept services. Be it for ill elderly family members and those with chronic illness like diabetes. Also, seriously ill cancer patients typically call the FD numerous times during their battle. People seem to forget that every firefighter is a Cardiac EMT as well.

Bob Cushman....you have a serious problem with people getting pensions that were bargained for in good faith. All of you folks complaining about pensions...where were you during each and every negotiation and budget session? Do you really expect pensioners to give back their money? I'm not. You are delusional. Before you attempt to break faith and steal from pensioners, have the courage to stop the bleeding by not giving any more to current workers. If it is too expensive, then begin with new employees. They will know what they are getting (or not getting).

Davebarry109,

You are clearly uniformed by asking Mr. Cushman where he was during negotiations. Union negotiations are made behind closed doors and the public has absolutely no say whatsoever in the process. Furthermore, these pension deals have been written by politicians who know damn well that they will never be able to deliver what was promised. It is done all over the country for one reason and one reason only - to secure votes. Its too bad that the union leadership never attended basic math classes during what little education they received in life. Had they, they would understand that mathematics is not democrat or republican. Mathematics don't lie, politicians do.

To take it one step further, Mr. Cushman and several others attend EVERY budget hearing and every meeting (both of them) when the actuaries come to town. Im sure you know that the public has never been allowed to ask questions of the actuaries and frankly, the majority of the council doesn't even understand the problem.

Every contract is taken to the city council and either approved or denied by your elected representatives both on the council and the mayors office. Each residen can exercise their right to inform their rep of their approval or disapproval and then vote according come the following election season. Do we all love everything that gets passed, of course not but such is life in a Republic.

However, the taxpayer is not allowed any public comment on contracts, nor are they allowed an opportunity to review them prior to passage.

Are we allowed to review and comment on laws that congress pass. NO. You tell your rep or council member and hope they listen. It's no different. Just because you are on the other side of a decision or contract means nothing. There are peopl that have an opposite view than you that won the argument.

"....pensions that were bargained for in good faith."

Ha ha. That's funny. I laughed at this. I showed my wife and she laughed too. Thanks for the belly-buster!

@Davebarry - I have a serious problem when over 50 percent of every new tax dollar allocated to the city budget in the last ten years goes to retired employee benefits.

I have a serious problem when less then THREE PERCENT (3%), let me repeat that, less than three percent of every new tax dollar is allocated to fund every line item in the city budget not related to retired and active employee benefits.

I have a serious problem when Warwick roads are pot holed filled and in some cases dangerous and there is no money to repair them

I have a serious problem when our recreation facilities are in such bad shape that anyone using them risks there personnal safety and there is no money to maintain them.

I have a serious problem when active police, firefighter and municipal workers do not receive a pay raise for three years for work they are doing today to provide taxpayers with services yet, some retired employees who performed services in the past are receiving annual pay raises.

I have a serious problem when total unfunded liabilities in the city total over $800 MILLION.

I have a serious problem when Mayor Avedisian does everything possible to hide and distort the facts regarding the cost of retired employee beenfits.

I have a problem when Mayor Avedisian is level funding schools, employees on the city side are not getting a raise yet city spending is increasing by $5 million, the Mayor is taping the rainy day fund for $3.6 million and on top of all that increasing taxes.

Everything is fine for you Dave since you getting your promised free lifetime healthcare and your COLA. The hell with everything else in the city, right Dave? Don't be surprised some day when all this comes crashing down.

Cote- pissed off he has no friend's except the whiners that usually post on here. Possibly also because his knowledge of the bay or our coastal waters and his diving expertise weren't needed because some members of the WFD were far more knowledgeable regarding these areas.

Probably should have been prosecuted by DEM and WPD for his suspicious dumping into our waterways when he owned his dive shop.

Also I could have swore he said he was moving to Florida....lol......guess that's not going to happen.

Oh yea Steve we have cameras on our phones also so when your rubbing up and being indecent with certain young females in some of our establishments in our city we may just tape it and send to your loved ones. I wonder how that would go over at home.

Cushman - disgruntled he couldn't win a 2nd term. He had a hand in putting us in this financial crisis by basically giving the school teachers the rainy day fund during the " I'll solve the teachers contract" situation....thanks Bob kudo's nice job. Probably irked he didn't get elected to a 2nd term to receive lifetime healthcare that all city employees have to work at least 20 years of there life to get,now at 25 years but it's ok Bob you do your 6 years...that sounds fair doesn't it?

If it's so bad here you could always leave but then again your argument would be I can't sell nobody want to move to Warwick, blah, blah, blah.

Try it put it on the market and maybe someone will bite and buy it but then again you move to another community and you will be a nobody because that's what you are just basically as we tell our children to avoid...BULLIES !!!

City council members (some) - if it serves me correctly we have lawyers on our council that I'm sure charge large hourly rates but be at that they are elected they get health care through the city at a reduced rate (nice huh?). You ever ask yourself why they ran? Is it for the good of the people or to provide there families and themselves adore affordable health care?

Daydreambeliever – great description on your mind set. Here are the real facts

It was my legislation that eliminated lifetime healthcare for Warwick politicians after serving only 6 years in office. I led by example choosing not take the gold-plated healthcare coverage provided to each council member since my full time employer provided coverage.

I led the effort to eliminate family plan health care to crossing guards who work 1 hour a day saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maybe you will also realize that school teacher in that contract received about 18% in pay raises while on the city side received over 21%. The Mayor wanted the school committee to give the teachers the same lifetime healthcare benefits as the city workers currently get. Imagine we did that? The unfunded liability for that benefit on the city side is $246 million while on the school side its $39 million.

And for the first time in the history of Warwick contract negotiations, retired school employee pay a co-pay on healthcare. The mayor has never been able to get a concession like that and every year taxpayers contribute $8 million toward free lifetime healthcare.

Maybe if the Mayor could negotiate as well as I did we would have some money to buy new firefighting equipment or repair our pot holed streets.

Get your facts straight instead of dreaming up your misinformation on my record.

Bobby, Bobby, Bobby we the people seriously need you to run for something in this city. With the knowledge and facts you possess and have obtained you are clearly the choice to run for whatever office you desire to seek.

What are you waiting for? If your for the people get out and run instead of constantly berating all city employees.

I ask myself does he have any other areas in his life that concerns him or possibly bring himself joy or does he just like being a vigilante and stir the pot?

And thus is the problem with people such as you. Your only concern is yourself.

Maybe you might understand this simply analogy as to why I do what I do and will continue to do.

Imagine in your day to day passing bys, a doctor noticed that you had a symptom associated with a serious disease and advised you that a further examination was warranted.

You’re the type of person upon hearing bad news such as this, would castigate the doctor, personally stack his credentials and tell him to mind his own business or go to the nearest clinic if he wanted to give free medical advice.

Now if your ailment wasn’t affecting anyone else in the community the doctor might just say the hell with you and go away to let you suffer with the future effects of the disease.

But since the doctor realizes that you have the capability of infecting many and severely injuring innocent adults and children in the community, he just might do something else to alert others of the danger you posses in the hope they will listen and do something to avoid tragedy.

Bob at some point you will realize that there is only one thing to do with the brain dead ---- PULL THE PLUG!

Daydreamer,

Does the word imbecile have any meaning to you?

Cote's experience, 12,000 logged dive hours in New England waters. Trained in excess of 1000 students. No accidents, no incidents, senior experimental test diver 15 years for Aqualung Co. Master repair technician for every manufacturer of dive equipment. Author of numerous repair manuals and training manuals. Countless awards of excellence from NAUI. Training program written up in every major dive publication. Instructor Trainer, Technical instructor, Award of excellence from the International Conference on Underwater Education, Cousteau Team member Project Ocean Search, Rescue specialist.

Yeah, you got better people ok. WFD combined dive experience from all members - 7 shellfish dives. Contributed to the loss of 5 Warwick residents lives, failed to recover deceased diver at Hope Island, removed the only eyewitness from the site, and who put the recovery team together to get the victim?? Failed to remove injured diver from YMCA pond, let her run out of air and die. Trained by a WPD diver noted as the most dangerous instructor in New England, and another 2/3 disabled scammer. Still don't have an organized method of rapid egress and uniform gear. You people are pathetic and its laughable to all the professionals. You are all legends in your own mind.

Anytime you want to test the waters, let me know.

"Failed to remove injured diver from YMCA pond, let her run out of air and die." Just that comment alone shows how much of a uneducated piece of garbage you are. Absolutely classless...... That was completely over the line false...

I'm amazed your family likes you. They probably don't but just don't tell you....

Can any one else here comment on Rob. Bob C. do you condone this talk, Stacia P. What's your feeling? I am very interested to see if you would comment on your extremely classless friend Rob. His last comment alone shows how little he knows. What a childish bush hiding little boy... I'm disgusted by this POC...

StevieD, you werent even on the department when the incident at the Y took place. You have no knowledge of the subject. Out of respect I wont go into all of the details but if you want to continue with these types of comments, I will go into great deal and name the names of the individuals involved in the botched rescue, the first in the water, the lack of equipment, apparatus arriving on site with an empty scuba tank, no wet suit, etc... I would advise you to clam up now as you are out of your league in the knowledge dept.

Your unbelievable. Now your threatening us. I know plenty of the details about that incident. Your accusations are again all false. I don't remember you being there either. You keep showing your true colors everyday. "Out of respect I won't go into details". Lots of respect you have for even bringing it up. Your a loser and everyone knows it....

Out of respect I won't go I to the details? Laughable...

It shouldn't have been even been brought up by you or anyone. A young lady died a horrible death and you throw everyone under the bus as though had you been there it would have made a difference.

It was a tragic accident that had a terrible outcome and I'm not blaming anyone including the first responders, the staff at the Y or the victim herself.

Shame on you ......

I also find it puzzling how no former mayors or elected officials of the city council have never been brought up on any criminal charges or even asked about where the money went or why the city never put there supposedly contributions in.

The employees all have it taken out of there checks weekly and the city is supposed to put in there share had they we probably wouldn't be in as severe trouble as we are now but it's ok to blame the generation of today for the problems that were neglected and lacking back in the 1970's and 80's.

The mayors didn't put the required contributions in and the city council allowed a lot of bad apples to leave on questionable pensions but lets blame today's generation for where we are.

Daydreambeliever we all know who Rob is. He is a worthless lying little boy who is upset about everything that real people do in life. In his own mind he is a genius. I've been at school when he screams at his kids. He is not a sane man. Not one person in warwick giver a rats a$$ about his so called videos. I have my disagreements with others that post here but Rob C. Is the lowest of low. Notice how his parole just ended and he is back to his normal stalking behavior.

Daydreamer and StevD,

You ae both morons spewing such falsehoods with no concept of reality. It seems that you are the real haters. You guys should excersize your health plan and get a pscychological exam. Daydreamer brought up the dive issue, too bad he cant handle the facts. Stevie, your funny, you make all these rediculous statements, ie, your at my kids school watching me yell at them. Thats funny stuff. Your just pissed because I continue to expose you lowlifes that are robbing the city. Guys like you , Naylor, and Picozzi continue to degrade the city and justify in your own mind that you are all hero's. Now Im on parole?? I thought firefighters had to take random drug tests? How can I say this politely? When your mother gave birth to you, the birth certificate that was given to her was actually an apology letter from the condom factory.

And to daydreamer. Its ashame that you cannot perfome basic math. You believe your union loser leadership about the pension problems. Yet you are unable to read a banance sheet. Do you know the difference between a defined contribution and a defined benefit program? Let me educate you since clearly you are lacking in that department. You bought into this defined benefit program which means you give a percentage of your pay to be "INVESTED" and the idiots that you have chosen to represent you tell you that no matter what happens to that investment you will still recieve, for example, 50 or 70% of your salary pension. NO MATTER WHAT THE RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT IS. That is the same logic that Bernie Madoff used with his scam. Defined Benefit programs do not work anywhere in the country. But you "heros" bought into it and now think that the rest of the community owes you because you were stupid enough to buy into a scam that was originated to buy votes for scum bags like Avedisian. If you had a brain, you would have realized that the game doesnt work and you got used. So keep believing in it because you will not ever realize what your "leaders" sold you. In the mean time, keep making up stories and personalizing and insulting people you have never met. Its because of you why the general public has such distain for your kind.

Stevie....I do know you I see you at the marina regularly ...... Even said the occasional hello at one time thankfully I came to my senses.

I like you will say the same thing....karma is a b**** and someday it may get you also. It may take awhile but when that day comes I don't want to hear you whine or say it's a conspiracy.

Sorry I meant Rob C. Yes I DO know you, yes I once said hello, yes karma can bite me as well as you.

Yes I live in the city, yes I work for the city, no I don't work for the fire department, yes I do have an education.

Myself as well as anyone else on here who post will be vilified by yourself and others because that's what you do.

It's certainly ok as I don't have to answer to you personally.

So enjoy your day/night.

The REAL Rob Cote!

News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management

235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908

(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: June 5, 1998

Contact: Bob Ballou 222-4700 ext. 4420

Martin Cappelli 222-6768

DEM ARRESTS WARWICK MAN FOR ILLEGAL DISPOSAL OF GASOLINE IN SEPTIC SYSTEM

PROVIDENCE: A Warwick man was arrested today for allegedly disposing of gasoline by pouring it down the drain at his business. Robert Cote, 39, of 12 Social Drive in Warwick, was arrested by DEM Officers at his place of business and arraigned before Judge Walter Gorman in 6th Division District Court in Warwick. He was charged with a single count of unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste. Cote entered no plea, as typically occurs in felony cases. He was released on $5,000 personal recognizance and faces an arraignment in Superior Court on August 14. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The RI Attorney General's Office will be prosecuting the case.

According to Sr. Agent Giusto Iannelli, of DEM's Office of Criminal Investigation, the Warwick Fire Department was called to Cote's business, the Pro Divers Shop at 2442 West Shore Road, on April 30 after a neighbor in an adjacent strip mall heard an explosion and observed smoke coming from the dive shop. The fire department responded and extinguished the fire, but an officer at the scene noticed a heavy smell of gasoline coming from the facility. Cote admitted to placing a container with less than a gallon of gasoline in a sink to see if the gasoline was contaminated. Cote claimed that the fumes from the gasoline were ignited by a spark from a hot water heater.

The fire officer at the scene called DEM to determine if there was a remaining hazard. John Leo, a Sanitary Engineer with DEM's Emergency Response Unit, responded and found that a considerable amount of gasoline was present in the septic system. Leo determined that the situation constituted a threat to public safety and the environment, and he immediately called CYN Environmental to come to pump out the septic system.

Subsequent lab tests indicated that there was at least 20 and perhaps as much as 30 gallons of gasoline in the septic system, enough to pose a significant danger of a major explosion. Leo noted that if the fumes had backed up overnight in the pipes and vents associated with the septic system, the result could have been disastrous.

In addition to today's arrest, DEM officers, assisted by officers from the Warwick Police Department, executed a search warrant and removed evidence from the scene.

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