Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cutting Dangerous Corners

So you have to feel bad for the current owners of Bruno's Pizza who, through no fault of their own, suddenly had to shell out big bucks to safely deal with the three old gas storage tanks with old gas still remaining,  unexpectedly uncovered during the Main Street reconstruction project.

Since the conversion from gas station to food service happened in the 1970s the previous owner -- Bruno Matarazzo -- probably had no idea those tanks were there as well.

But the recent oil tank problem at 45 Phillips Street is another matter altogether.  When you pack more than the four unrelated tenants allowed by law into a one family wood frame unit -- especially a demographic that likes to party -- an extra amount of wear and tear should be expected.

And since Mr. Gharabegian's property card for 45 Phillips shows not a single permit pulled for any improvements since he purchased the mansion back in 2007, obviously he's not the neater half of The Odd Couple

While on cite doing a follow up investigation at the problem house, Amherst Fire Department Assistant Chief Don McKay noticed an oil stain in the basement and a hole in the floor that looked as though oil had drained down it, and a brand new oil storage tank, installed without a permit.

Apparently the original 275 gallon tank was damaged during a basement party.  

In addition to the the $400 in fines levied against Mr. Gharabegian for all the various infractions related to the dangerous practice of fly-by-night installation of a potentially explosive product, the Department of Environmental Protection is also investigating whether 45 Phillips will become Amherst's Love Canal. 

45 Phillips

Have a nice day Mr. Gharabegian.


Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Fly by night installation? Yeah, there are lots of wandering oil tank shysters roving the land. My bet is it was installed by the local oil company that serves the house. As to not pulling a permit, you don't need a permit for a repair on the inside of your house. Don't confuse the issue. Students damaged an old oil tank. There are lots of houses that have them. This wasn't the fault of the landlord.

Larry Kelley said...

Obviously you do need to "pull a permit" for installing a new oil tank.

Why do you think he was fined $400?

And maybe if he did not pack into the house a small army of students the oil tank would not have been damaged.

Anonymous said...

He was fined for not getting a permit, not for faulty installation of the oil tank. Again, hyperbole gets in the way of facts.

Larry Kelley said...

Spoken like a Cowardly Anon Nitwit with a vested interest.

Anonymous said...

I have no vested interest. Have never seen the house, do not know the landlord. Just a blog reader.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, and I have your word on that.


"527 CMR (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Regulations. Board of Fire Prevention Regulations)

527 CMR 4.03 (b) states that you don’t have to pull a permit to maintain an oil burner installation (the tank is included as part of the oil burner installation). “Maintain” does not include replace the tank. Maintain means replacement of electrodes, filters, and nozzles.

MGL 148 Section 10 C requires a “ certificate granted by an examiner for the certification of oil burner technicians” for anyone performing work on an oil burner installation, other than the routine maintenance as mentioned above.

DEP will keep us apprised of the remediation effort at 45 Phillips.

And without significant evidence to the contrary, the local oil companies work in this regard has been consistently above standard and with due regard for the fire prevention codes."

Assistant Chief McKay

Anonymous said...

With due respect to the Fire Chief, my understanding is that the permit also constitutes the otherwise-required permit to *store* the oil as well.

However, Larry, how do you know that students damaged the tank (they are kinda rugged if in good shape) and that it didn't just rust out?

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the tank just rusted out, he told the tenants to go f*** themselves, and they called around and found some student who knew how to put a tank in (may even have a burner tech license), and did it because they got some attractive young lady to ask him to do it.

Larry Kelley said...

Students got together and pitched in to buy a new oil tank?

Nah, that would have cut to far into their beer money.

Anonymous said...

"certificate granted by an examiner for the certification of oil burner technicians"

You have presented absolutely no evidence that this was installed by an uncertified technician. I think it's highly unlikely as a 275 gallon oil tank is not the kind of thing the average handyman installs.

Anonymous said...

I say again. I have no vested interest in any of this. I am just a blog reader. And someone who really could give a rats ass whether you believe me or not. Perhaps we should just all start doubting the veracity of everything you write!

Larry Kelley said...

Actually the replacement tank was only half the size of the original and AFD is trying to find out who installed it. If it was someone who is licensed they will report them to the State Fire Marshal for not pulling a permit.

Anonymous said...

But the problem was not with the new tank?

Larry Kelley said...

Not yet.

Anonymous said...

Did you just call 45 Phillips Street a mansion? Get a grip on reality.

Larry Kelley said...

Sarcasm requires its own special font (although in this case it should have been obvious).

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, you would be amazed at the extent to which the slumlords force the UM students to fix things themselves.

Drunk or not, if they are cold, they are going to have to fix the tank and a new tank costs about the price of filling it. And I suspect the latter was their responsibility....

Anonymous said...

You think the oil tank is bad...the second floor toilet sewage pipe had a leak. The leak led to the ceiling on the first floor first showing a water stain than bursting with sewage water. It was so moinst dark and humid in the ceiling that mushrooms grew in the space (they could be seen in the huge ceiling hole). The landlord had the tenants duck tape the huge hole and didn't fix the sewage leak for months. So it just dripped through the duck tape. The hole remained for at least 3 years. That is a SLUM LORD. When ever the tenants wanted him to fix it he increased the rent.