An apartment house in downtown Jamestown was extensively damaged in a fire last night that originated on the backporch of the home. City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to the scene at 68 Water Street shortly after 6PM... and found the fire had gotten into the walls of the home. Sigular says crews made quick work of the blaze... but, an off-duty shift was called in to assist. The 11 people living there were not hurt... but, a cat perished... and firefighters rescued two dogs. Firefighters were back in services shortly after 10 PM. No cause has been released. Sigular says the house is uninhabitable. A portion of Water Street between Foote Avenue and King Street was closed to traffic during the incident.
In addition.... the Jamestown Fire Department has a new website, which they are using to update residents on the latest information across the city's four fire stations. It can be found at Local.iAFF.org/Local137
A bi-partisan effort is underway in both the U-S House of Representatives and Senate to craft a fourth, COVID-19 Relief bill that will address local and state costs from the outbreak. Local Congressman Tom Reed also says the group mindful of making sure that local governments don't lose out when the funding is released. Reed says it's important that the money allocated to states goes for only COVID-19 related costs.
Reed emphasized that all those involved want to make sure that local governments get the money they need without the state being able to take some of it first. However... he says there are other lawmakers that don't want that because several governors don't want that aid restricted. Reed says lawmakers are also working to make sure that when releasing federal aid to states that they are helping to pay for expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak... and, not shortfalls that were there before the outbreak began. In addition... he says COVID 4 will likely include infrastructure upgrades... making it at least another 2-trillion dollars in cost.
There's been one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the county's total of positive cases to 32. County Executive P-J Wendel says a woman in her 50s is the latest person to contract Coronavirus... and, she has one of four active cases currently. Wendel says 25 people have now recovered... while 36 people are under quarantine or isolation orders. He says 788 negative test results have reported to date... with three deaths.
What parts of New York state will reopen soon will be driven by the data. That from Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday in Syracuse... which is located in Central New York. That's one of possible regions that could reopen in mid-May... depending on how well the hospital capacity, and infection rates look. Cuomo reiterated that he's looking at a phase-one opening in those locations involving small manufacturing, and construction.
Cuomo says whether those areas reopen after May 15th is dependent on two key numbers. He says one is keeping the local hospitalization rate below 70-percent... and, secondly keeping the COVID-19 infection rate below 1.1. Cuomo says that means one person has infected more than one other person... which allows the infection rate to grow exponentially. The governor also announced formation of a special advisory board made up of state-wide business, civic, and academic leaders that will help facilitate the reopening process. He says they will also be taking a hard look at event attractions that draw huge crowds for a weekend or season.
The New York Farm Bureau is praising Governor Cuomo's $25-million dollar plan to link upstate farmers with downstate food banks that are in dire need of supplies due to increased demand. That demand is being driven by people suddenly out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak. During his announcement of the plan... called "Nourish New York..." Cuomo also urged the philanthropy community to help out.
Cuomo says... sadly... many upstate dairy farmers have had to "dump" their oversupply of milk because they typically sell to "institutional" businesses... like restaurants and schools that aren't operating -- or are just partially open -- right now.
A pair of "virtual town halls" have been scheduled for this week by Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundqust... who says he's holding them to give residents a chance to ask questions and voice concerns regarding the Coronavirus shut-down. Sundquist announced the town halls during last night's City Council voting session. He says the first one will be held tomorrow via telephone.
Sundquist says to take part in the conference call... you are asked to call 705-5252... then dial 90001 at the Prompt. He say's residents can "raise their hands" virtually by pressing *5... and, you'll be placed in a queue to ask a question. Sundquist, again, says he's also hosting a "Facebook Live" town hall this Thursday at 5 PM... and, you can type in @mayoreddiesundquist. The mayor is also encouraging people to submit their questions early via Facebook.
An evening fire in the town of Harmony has been determined to be accidental by the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team Monday. The Sheriff's Office says a passerby called in the blaze on the Blockville-Watts Flats Road just before 8 PM. Investigators report the fire occurred in the area of an indoor woodstove that was left unattended. No one was hurt. Crews were there about an hour.