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Fire board Questioned on Gas well Safety Measures

Windham – The WVFD Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting on October 11, 2012 at the fire station. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Ron Kilgore. The board approved the minutes as presented, the expenditures and the bank reconciliation.
Chief Mike Iwanyckyj reported that the lights from the grant were in and the other grant from FEMA was on hold until they allocate more funds for the grant. Currently there were not any grants awarded to any stations in Ohio.
The new ambulance was in the repair shop to fix the steering box. The repair is under warranty so there is no cost to the board for the repair.
The chief requested that they promote David Belknap to firefighter, since he has passed the firefighter test.  The board approved the request.
Resident Denise Cain questioned what measures the fire department has in place in case of an emergency with the new gas wells and proposed injection wells that have been and are being drilled in the township. Cain claimed that she has documented several problems that have happened during the drilling process. She questioned how public safety would be maintained if there was a fire or a chemical leak from the wells.  The chief said they have Haz-Mat training for the chemicals spill; however the gas companies do not have to disclose what chemicals were used in the fracking process so without knowing what chemical one may have been exposed to it would be hard to treat and decontaminate them.  The chief stated that Mountain Keystone Energy has private companies that handle fires at the wells, but they would be on hand to handle a fire once the fires leave the actual well site.  The Chief also stated that they have no jurisdiction over the wells; they fall under the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction.
Currently, they do not have a plan of action in place; however Iwanyckyj is working with Fire Chief David Freiss from Garrettsville, Nelson, and Freedom Joint Fire District to develop an emergency plan in case one is needed. With there being no further business the meeting was adjourned.
The fire board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm at the fire station.

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Denise Bly has been a correspondent for the Weekly Villager for five years. She also does the public relations for Garrettsville SummerFest and the Garrettsville Area Chamber. In her spare time, she can be found at most local events, especially J.A. Garfield’s, high school and middle school athletic and musical events. When not out and about in the community, she can be found at home reading, sewing, cooking and spending time with her family.