Site of chemical incident discussed

FOLLANSBEE – A house where a chemical spill occurred Saturday was among issues discussed by Follansbee Council Monday.

Resident Jim Elliott noted he has asked council many times to address the house at 360 Rose St. because it is filled with junk while tires, propane tanks and other materials lay about the yard outside.

The house came to the attention of county and city officials Saturday night when a man working to clean it spilled some chemical that gave him minor burns and caused him to have trouble breathing.

Follansbee Fire Chief Larry Rea said the chemical is believed to be tear gas, but officials with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection are coming to analyze it and decontaminate the house.

Rea said the house has been secured so no one may enter, but neighbors are free to go about their daily business.

“As long as that house is closed up, it’s contained, and we’re OK,” he said.

Rea said once any hazardous material is removed, “it’s still contaminated, in my opinion, because there’s a boatload of mold in that place.”

Rea said following the state DEP’s actions, he will recommend the city demolish the structure.

Various city officials told Elliott earlier that a man living at the house has been brought to municipal court and fined but it failed to influence him to address the house in any long-term way.

City Manager John DeStefano said the man had moved out of the house and its owner had arranged for someone to clean the house when Saturday’s incident occurred.

He said the owner has very little money to address the cleanup.

In other business, council opened one bid received for street paving, from Carl Kelly Paving of Rayland, which does business in West Virginia as Shelly and Sands Inc.

DeStefano said the city advertised in a few newspapers and contacted potential contractors, but the city’s request that paving be completed by Aug. 30 may have been a deterrent.

The bid totaled $469,350, but DeStefano noted bids were sought for about 20 streets, with council planning to prioritize them according to cost and need. Council agreed to meet at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss their choices.

He said $200,000 was budgeted for paving this year, and $100,000 for next year.

At the city’s request, Carl Kelly submitted two bids for Bonnie Prince Drive on Highland Hills, one of $36,600 and another, for a polymer-based coating said to be more durable, in the amount of $38,100.

Other bids were: $14,375 for the 600 block of Rose Street; $15,750 for the 700 block of Rose Street; $12,260 for Browning Alley from state Route 2 to Washington Street; $5,625 for Oak Alley from Ohio Street to Clifton Street; $13,750 for Linden Avenue from Allegheny Street to Neville Street; and $26,875 for Neville Street from Clifton Street to Jefferson Street; $20,325 for West Street from Mark Avenue to the west side of Gilbert Avenue; $26,225 for Wood Street from Curtis Street to Allegheny Street; $16,410 for Main Street (state Route 2) at Front Street to dead end behind James Funeral Home; $12,880 for Chapman Street from Raspberry Avenue to Mahan Avenue; $40,700 for Marquette Avenue from the top of the hill to Walker Road; $30,875 for Walker Road from Marquette to Follansbee Park entrance; $26,050 for Walker Road from Jamie Lane to Wabash; $21,000 for Wabash Drive from Walker Road to the Slow sign on Marquette; $16,300 for Cork Road from Tartan to the turnaround; $57,125 for Donegal Drive East from Kilt to the top of the hill; $11,750 for Kilt Road from Donegal Drive East to Donegal Drive West; $23,625 for Kerry and Kilkenny drives from Highland Hills Drive to Heathermoor; and $22,950 for Shannon Boulevard.

Also on Monday:

Council approved re-lettering of the north column at the entrance of Follansbee Park at a cost of $950. DeStefano said the words “Follansbee Municipal Park” on the limestone column have been worn away by the elements.

DeStefano advised the Follansbee Baseball Association is interested in running the concession stand at Follansbee Park. Council agreed to have City Attorney Michael Gaudio draw up a contract for the group to take on the task, possibly for $1.

City officials had been seeking someone to run the stand to save it the cost for staff, food and materials.

Third Ward Councilwoman Kathy Santoro suggested lowering the price for swim lessons at the city’s pool, currently $70 per child, and offering a discount for each additional child from the same family. She said it would make the lessons more accessible to families with small budgets.

In related business, council authorized DeStefano to consult a pool expert to help identify the source of a leak in the pool.