Battery fire concerns raised after Warwick issues moratorium

Woodbury. Exiting trustees bid farewell.

| 28 Nov 2023 | 04:19

During the November 14 Woodbury Village Board meeting, the board was asked what can be done to educate the public about the growing use of lithium-ion batteries. According to CBS News, lithium-ion batteries have caused 239 fires in New York City so far this year. These incidents have resulted in 124 injuries and 17 deaths. In June, a lithium-ion battery was also responsible for a fire in Warwick at the Convergent Energy lithium-ion battery storage facility on Route 1A, which inspired a moratorium on applications for such facilities within the village’s boundaries this past November.

Much of the concern involving these batteries centers on e-bikes and scooters. An e-scooter was thought to be the cause of a deadly blaze in the Bronx earlier this year. The National Fire Protection Association is reminding consumers to stop charging the batteries after they are full, to use charging equipment that is compatible with their device, and to stop using their devices if it shows signs of damage. Signs of damage include unusual odor, excessive heat, popping sounds, swelling, or a change in color, according to the NFPA. Area residents are encouraged to bring their depleted or damaged lithium-ion batteries to the Home Depot and Walmart off Larkin Drive. Home Depot provides Call2Recycle bins next to the Customer Service area. There is no charge for recycling depleted batteries.

Other business

Trustee Christopher Graziano gave his farewell address, as did Deputy Mayor Tara Burek. Both board members were defeated in the most recent election. Matthew Fabbro and James Freiband, both Democrats, will replace the Republican members in January. Graziano lost by 172 votes to Fabbro (1,181 to 1,009) and Freiband defeated Burek by 78 votes (1,111 to 1,033).

Deputy Mayor Burek discussed her reasons for running for the board many years ago. “The lack of civility over the years was quite disturbing for such a small town,” said Burek. She added that the work done by the board is often not easy and thankless. “You do what you can do with the information you have and hope it’s the right decision for everyone.”

Mayor Andrew Giacomazza pointed out that this specific group has passed over 30 bills, helped put a new well online, and completed numerous projects in the last two years. The mayor heaped praise on Burek and Graziano, and welcomed Freiband and Fabbro to the board. He added, meant as no slight to the incoming board members, that he doesn’t look at his recent electoral victory as a win.

He said, “When you lose good people for the wrong reasons, it’s going to bite you in the hiney. On Tuesday, we lost two very good people. Two people with skillsets who made it much easier to do my job as mayor. Now my job has become much more difficult, and I am not happy about it.” He added, “It’s unfortunate that this election became personal and it didn’t come from my team. [...] It wasn’t us, and that won’t easily be forgotten by me.”