Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner Sees Nothing

Herkimer Fire Chief Sees Nothing

Below’s a clip of a conversation I had with Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner on 6/14/16. The backdrop of it is the repeated illegal bonfires over past few months at 328 Pleasant Avenue, which is next to our own house at 330.  328 Pleasant Avenue is owned by Mrs. Harriett Tangorra, Clerk of the Herkimer Supreme Court, who unblushingly rents it to abusive thug and pyromaniac Curtis Cool, aka Curtis Dolan.

Despite my emailed reports and videos of the fires over the last 6 weeks to Mayor Anthony Brindisi and Fire Chief Spanfelner, Herkimer officials have yet to take any action to protect our village neighborhood of close-set, tinder-dry 19th century homes from the threat posed by a deeply disturbed young man. A fast-moving nighttime fire could easily wipe out scores of houses and sleeping people. (Mr. Cool likes his fires late at night.) Only when I said I’d be advising my property insurance carrier that Herkimer was demonstrating misfeasance by failing to remedy a known threat to life and property did village authorities take a grudging interest.

The only response to this ongoing threat was on 6/6, when Chief Spanfelner visited 328 Pleasant Avenue, 7 days after receiving my video clips and narrative of the most recent Cool blaze of 5/30. The chief concluded that there was no evidence of the fire, that my videos were of the wrong yard, gave the fire thug a copy of the village fire regulations and left. Following the chief’s feel-good visit, Cool celebrated on 6/11 by assailing my wife and I on the sidewalk, and then with a major illegal fireworks barrage on 6/13.

The following morning, the 14th, I called Chief Spanfelner. We first discussed Cool’s hugely dangerous, bird-killing bombardment of the night before, about which the chief said he can do nothing. We then talked about about his investigation on 6/6 of the fire of 5/30. The chief said there’s no no evidence that it ever occurred.  As for our surveillance cameras’ clips, he dismissed them as not showing the yard next door, but the yard of 326 Pleasant Avenue, two houses away, which our cameras don’t cover. By implication, all the other vidoes of the fires in at 328 were also of the wrong yard.  (The Herkimer Fire Department doesn’t care for our videos, many of which I share with NY state authorities.)

328 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer Fire of 5/30/16
Fire of 5/30/16 in yard of 328 Pleasant Ave. Note circle in top right behind fire, marking fence boundary with 326 Pleasant Ave.

As they say in Brooklyn, you can’t make this stuff up. (The Harriett referred to in the conversation is owner Harriet Tangorra. “He” is tenant Curtis Cool.)

Written by Herkimer Post Crime Editor, author Stephen Ames Berry. Berry is a former officer of Harvard University and a veteran of the National Security Agency’s US Army Security Agency.

Author:

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan