Trustees dealing with bill for gas leak response


Staff writer

FRANKLIN SQUARE-Salem Township Trustees are wondering what to do about a bill from the Leetonia Fire Department following its response Monday to a gas leak at the state Route 558 and Grafton Road intersection.

Constable Dan Valentine, who is also the township fire chief, submitted the invoice.

The intersection is part of the approved route to a wellsite on Grafton Road. Valentine explained that Stateline Paving was widening the intersection to accommodate heavy truck traffic.

Stateline Paving is a Lindy Company and located in North Lima. Valentine said road work included moving existing Columbia Gas transmission lines. An equipment operator struck a main gas line on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Valentine said the gas line was marked and the equipment operator hit it square. “He hit right on the marker,” Valentine said, explaining that Stateline Paving immediately alerted safety personnel. “As soon as they hit it, they called the fire department,” Valentine said, noting it was the second time a line was struck in the township since April.

Columbia Gas shut the line off.

Valentine said the highway patrol should have been notified since it was a state route. The patrol, in turn, would have advised the Ohio Department of Transportation to set up barricades.

State Route 558 was closed from Leetonia Road to the bottom of old state Route 344 and Grafton Road was closed from Lodge Road to Farrington Road for approximately three hours.

Valentine said it was complicated because it was the first day of school. He contacted the Leetonia School District to re-route buses and advise parents picking students up.

He was unsure how many customers were affected, adding he assisted Columbia Gas personnel going around to re-light pilot lights in homes.

The bill from the Leetonia Fire Department included one fire pumper at $675 for three hours at $225 an hour; one rescue truck at $450 for three hours at $150 an hour; and, 21 man hours at $8.50 per hour for a total of $1,898. Valentine charged $31.50 for three hours at $10.50 an hour as fire chief.

Salem Township contracts with Leetonia for fire protection and Trustee Bill Heston said, “I was thinking the fire department would bill directly to the paving company.”

Fiscal Officer Cathy Wilms asked, “Wouldn’t it come through the village?” Trustee John Wilms said, “It’s covered in our contract.”

Heston repeated his comment about Leetonia billing the contractor directly. Valentine suggested the trustees bill the paving company and place the money in the fire fund.

John Wilms suggested they “run it by” Andy Beach in the Columbiana County prosecutor’s officer for review. Heston again thought the fire department should bill the paving company but concurred with Wilms’ suggestion for a legal opinion.

In other business, trustees approved the purchase of a $3,100 broom for the front of the uniloader after Road Superintendent Jason Entrikin and Wilms said they could get a good deal on one. Entrikin said he thought the price would be in the $6,000 to $7,000 region. “I was shocked,” Entrikin said when he learned of the price.

The purchase will be made through the government purchasing co-op. Trustees approved the purchase with a 3-0 vote.