Herkimer Police Respond to Latest Fire at 328 Pleasant Avenue – Fire Chief Shrugs It Off

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by Stephen Ames Berry

Yet another dangerous nighttime fire at 328 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer this time saw a vigorous Herkimer police response. The fire of 5/31 fire followed on the heels of the towering inferno of the previous week. Same tenants. Same accelerant. Same depraved indifference. Here’s a short video:

Fire remains 328 Pleasant Ave fire of 5.30.16
Remains of fire of 5.30.16 at 328 Pleasant Avenue

328 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer is owned by Mrs. Harriett Tangorra, and sits among its close-packed, tinder-dry 19th and early 20th century neighbors. In the last five weeks it’s been the scene of three illegal fires, one in which the yard’s racist thugs assailed an elderly Jewish neighbor. (That would be my wife, blog hostess Linda) in an anti-Semitic and ageist tirade. And then there was their poor abused dog.

Adjacent structures 328 Pleasant Avenue fire of 5.30.16
Adjacent structures – 328 Pleasant Avenue fires site. Note plastic screen gazebo feet from fire source.

Prompt Herkimer Police Response to 328 Pleasant Avenue Fire

But the following day, a Herkimer police officer arrived and spoke with the thugs lounging mid-day in the yard. The officer was there for about 20 minutes. Don’t know what he said to them but they did not at all like it. As he pulled away, they began screaming obscenities and racing their ATV engine, one of them bellowing “Psychotic bitch!” and their usual tedious “Gonna fick you up!”

That last were probably meant my wife,  who they probably thought called the law on them. But no, we did not call the police, or the fire department, as we’d only just discovered their latest episode of pyromania while reviewing our last night’s surveillance footage.  As their bonfires threaten both Pleasant Avenue and Eureka Avenue, someone else may just possibly have reported them–possibly several someones. Their only friends on this street are their fellow drug thugs.

Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner Discusses 328 Pleasant Avenue Fire Safety Issues

Herkimer Fire Chief John Spanfelner visited me today to discuss the recurring dangerous fires at 328 Pleasant Avenue. Following our cordial conversation, during which he reiterated the need for night time vigilance, the chief assured me a call to either 911 or the Fire Department would see any illegal fire promptly doused by the Fire Department, backed by the police if necessary. He noted he’s contacted the owner, Mrs. Tangorra, who seemed unaware of the size of the fires. (Perhaps I’m texting my video links for her to the wrong cellphone number?  )

Chief Spanfelner then visited with Mrs. Tangorra’s tenant Curtis Cool (A/K/A Curtis Dolan) at neighboring 328 Pleasant Avenue. Watching him go, I felt relieved that someone was finally doing something to protect Pleasant Avenue from its resident fire thug. I was wrong.

6/24/16. Postscript. Chief Spanfelner had an equally cordial visit with fire thug Curtis Cool at 328 Pleasant Avenue, politely providing him with a copy of the Village of Herkimer fire ordinances. The chief confirmed this in a phone conversation with me, which would have to be heard to be believed. Embolden by the chief’s act of nonfeasance, Cool reacted as you might expect a criminal to act. More on this later.

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


Author: herkimerblog

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