Flood topples town

AU SABLE FORKS A broken water pipe on Feb. 5 sent years of town records down the drain. About 330,000 gallons of water flooded the AuSable Forks Fire Departments basement, before moving into the towns facilities in the Jay Community Center. It was devastating. We lost most of our documents from 1800s to 2004, said Jay Supervisor Randall Douglas. The flooding filled the basement up to seven feet in depth in places. About two hundred boxes were stored in a fire proof vault there. We always thought it was in a safe place, but it didnt stop the water, said Douglas. Department of Public Works Director Christopher Garrow said the towns main concern is preventing mold from moving into the area. Members of the DPW and fire department, private contractors and work crews from Moriah Shock helped to clean the area. A chemical spray was applied to prevent mold from growing. Garrow said the building had never flooded before not even when the Au Sable river crested its banks back in 1996. Garrow said the town will have to replace the burners for the boilers, which were submerged. The day to day operations of the town should be unaffected, since about two years of records were stored in the office. However, past documents and old employment records are among the casualties. Mike Mitchell, second assistant fire chief of the Au Sable Forks Fire Department, said the department also lost records dating back to the 1920s, along with some miscellaneous equipment. Douglas remained hopeful that some of the records could be salvaged. The town applied for a $20,000 emergency grant from the New York State Archives. The town and fire department were both insured. The town shipped the soaked records on a refrigerated truck to be freeze dried to Document Reprocessors of Middlesex. The company was involved in retrieving records from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Were going to do whatever it takes to preserve the history of the town, said Douglas. The town is planning on moving their record storage rooms into a space upstairs.

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