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All I Got for Christmas Was a Frantic Email

LaBella was on hand to help the Town of Irondequoit triage emergency needs on Christmas Day.

It was a morning like any other. LaBella Project Manager Mike Shaffron woke, walked his dogs, and then checked his email. But the date was December 25th, 2016, and what he opened that morning was not a joyous surprise. Instead, Town of Irondequoit Commissioner of Public Works Robert Kiley sent Mike an urgent email with news of a fire at the Town’s DPW building. The fire had started Christmas Eve, and that morning Bob Kiley was facing a total loss of his facility.

Mike quickly joined Bob at the site, where concerns were mounting over the nearby communications tower. Were the tower’s stabilizing guy wires impacted by the fire? Was collapse imminent? Working quickly on Christmas Day, Mike and Bob were joined by representatives from the tower manufacturer, who determined that the tower would stand, but the wires would need to be replaced within the week. Water and electrical service was also a concern, and as Town Engineer LaBella worked with Irondequoit’s staff to make an emergency repair plan.

Since the fire, LaBella has designed a temporary DPW, now under construction, that will house the Town’s snow plows for the winter season. Site options for a new, permanent replacement facility are being studied.

As Town Engineer for the past 7 years, LaBella’s job is to treat the town’s facilities like our own. There’s no doubt that if he had to do it again, Mike would still open that email on Christmas Morning. As for the town, Commissioner Kiley said, “Rather than spend time with his family on a cold, snowy Christmas morning, Mike was on site with me surveying the damage and helping to formulate a plan. I spent my Christmas 2016 with Mike Schaffron, and I was extremely grateful to have him there.”