Local law 'supports' firefighters 
By Jason Doce 
The Times Herald-Record 
 
Washingtonville firefighters have been given an extra measure of safety thanks to a new law passed by the Village Board.The law, passed Jan. 8, requires that any building supported by lightweight trusses 2-by-4-inch rafters be clearly identified. 

Lightweight trusses, cheaper than traditional 4-by-6-inch heavy timber, have a tendency to split apart when exposed to intense heat, and can cause buildings to collapse. 

"We're not going to have firefighters killed because they don't know how a building is constructed," said former West Point firefighter and Washingtonville Building Inspector Kevin McKeon, who spearheaded the bill.  

James Pressnall, of Irving, Texas, was the first known firefighter to die in a lightweight-truss collapse in 1984.  

Since then, New Jersey has passed a state law requiring all lightweight-truss construction to be clearly marked at the entrance to developments or on the buildings themselves. 

Albany legislators have yet to pass a similar statewide law. 

Washingtonville local law requires a speed-limit-sized sign with the letters R (for lightweight roof construction) or F (for floor construction) to be placed outside homes or developments that were built using the lightweight-truss technique. 

McKeon said he had received interest from fire departments in Blooming Grove and Wallkill, who have asked for copies of the law.  

Within Washingtonville, he has received almost unanimous support. And, although developers "might be annoyed, they're not the ones with their lives on the line," McKeon added.