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The Record, Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Heights compiling costs
of Borough Hall blaze

By Charles Yoo, Staff Writer

Hasbrouck Heights -- Officials are trying to pin dollar figures on the damage from a fire that destroyed Borough Hall two months ago.

A preliminary report from an insurance company is expected this week for the property at 248 HamiltonAve. Caused by faulty wiring, the fire ravaged Borough Hall and the adjacent Police Department on Dec. 11, knocking out emergency communications and destroying the roof.

It also destroyed the offices of the borough clerk and borough administrator as well as the municipal courtroom, council caucus room, and a firefighters meeting room, which were all on the second floor.

Fire inspectors later ruled that the blaze had been accidental, caused by faulty wiring in the courtroom in the half-century-old building, said Borough Administrator Michael Kronyak. "As far as the total claims, I have no idea," he said. "We’re in the process of accumulating costs."

Councilman Garrett Pepe, who also is building and grounds commissioner, said the borough hired an architect to determine whether the old building can be salvaged.

"Let’s face it, it could be a large claim," he said.

The North Jersey Intergovermental Insurance Fund, which is assessing the damage, has given Hasbrouck Heights $450,000 to keep government going. The borough has used much of the money to buy transmission and emergency equipment for police, set up four trailers for the department across from the burned-out structure, and replace other items damaged in the blaze.

The Fire Department has relocated temporarily to Kundert Volvo on Terrace Avenue.

Since the fire, municipal employees have been working at a vacant bank on Boulevard.


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