MINDEN, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Minden town clerk and assessor’s offices, along with the town court, are expected to reopen on Tuesday after a massive fire ripped through the community’s highway garage last month. The clerk will run out of the Village of Nelliston’s office, at 11 River Street, while the town court will be moved into the Senior Center, at 206 Canal Street in Fort Plain.
In the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2022, Minden’s highway department suffered a serious blow after a roaring fire wiped out all but one of their vehicles. There were no injuries, officials said, but the garage and most of the equipment inside were a total loss.
Highway Superintendent Joe Hanifin was one of the first firefighters on scene that morning. He got an automated notification around 1 a.m. that a fire alarm was going off at the garage.
Hanifin told NEWS10’s Anya Tucker that he left the garage hours earlier on Saturday evening, around 6 p.m., after he and his crews finished plowing the roads, due to the day’s long snowstorm. “Everything was secure,” he said. “All the trucks were off. The heat was turned down. I even washed the pickup that’s [now] destroyed in the back before I went home.”
Several plows, a tractor, and other highway maintenance equipment were all destroyed in the blaze. One truck was out on repair—the only one spared in the tragedy.
The Town Court and Municipal Building were saved, but both were damaged by water and smoke. Town Supervisor Cheryl Reese said immediately after the blaze was extinguished, Town officials recognized the need to develop a plan to continue governmental services for its residents and taxpayers.
The Highway Department will be operating out of a temporary trailer located on their current premises, Reese said. Its operations will be supported by neighboring communities from Montgomery, Fulton, and Otsego Counties. “We expect little to no interruption in the delivery of services,” Reese explained, “however, allow us to kindly remind you it’s winter in the Northeast.”
The Code Enforcement Officer will be working out of his village office full time. He was unaffected by the blaze.
The Town Board, Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings will be held at the Senior Center in Fort Plain, located at 206 Canal Street. All meetings for 2023 will be posted on the Town of Minden’s website.
“As we progress further, expect additional information to be released,” Supervisor Reese said in an online statement. “During this time, we ask for your patience and cooperation as we work diligently to prepare our Town government to service you.”