Who owns what? Copenhagen takes idled fire department to court

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 4:28 PM EST
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COPENHAGEN, New York (WWNY) - As the Copenhagen Fire Department sits idle, not responding to calls, the fight over who owns what will move to court.

Copenhagen Fire Department Inc. owns the fire hall, but who owns what’s inside the building is still in dispute.

In September 2022, the village of Copenhagen voted to abolish the fire department after a state audit raised concerns over both the company’s finances and its firefighters’ safety.

Now, Copenhagen Village Attorney Candace Randall filed a complaint with Lewis County State Supreme Court, dated January 27, against Copenhagen Fire Department Inc. and former fire chief T.J. Williams.

The complaint alleges that the former fire department has not returned any firefighting gear, equipment, or vehicles after a court ordered it to do so last November.

That court order was hand-delivered to Chief Williams on November 3.

The village has argued in the past that the firefighting equipment was paid for with taxpayer money, thus it’s owned by the village, not the fire department.

Additionally, the village is seeking damages from the department - a minimum of $25,000 plus interest.

Copenhagen believes the former fire department has wrongfully held onto the turnout gear and trucks.

The village is also asking for an order of seizure from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office to take back the property they believe belongs to the village.

7 News reached out to both the village of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Fire Department Inc. for comment. We received no response.