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Nitro to ask Bayer to repay police overtime in plant fire

By Greg Garner

NITRO, W.Va. - Nitro City Council announced Tuesday night it will attempt to recoup the expenses the city incurred in responding to last week's chemical plant blast.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. last Thursday, there was an explosion at the Bayer CropScience facility in Institute. One worker was killed, another badly burned, and the shockwave shook homes as far as 15 miles away.

Lt. Joe Savilla of the Nitro Police Department said three officers were already on duty at the time of the incident and another five were immediately called out. All told, the eight cops put in 30 hours dealing with the emergency.

Savilla said it could have easily been more.

"If they hadn't got it out when they did, it was a matter of 15 or 20 minutes before they were going to evacuate the upper half of the city," Savilla said.

As it stands, the officers accumulated between $675 and $700 in overtime pay.

"We're going to be asking [Bayer CropScience] for reimbursement for the overtime and the manpower," Savilla said. "We're getting an estimate together as we speak."

City Treasurer John Young said his department was also totaling the expenses - which would also include the Fire Department's activity - and would have a final cost amount shortly.

Councilman Joe Savilla, Lt. Savilla's father, said since the plant is located outside city limits but utilized the city's resources, payment should be quick in coming. "Our taxpayers paid for this," he said.

In other business, Mayor Rusty Casto said there would be a meeting of the Nitro Development Authority today at 6 p.m. where city officials could ask questions of organization members.

The authority has previously balked at attending regular City Council sessions to discuss the group's business.

Casto also said he needed the names of two nominees to appoint to the zoning board of appeals. He asked council members to recruit candidates as soon as possible.

City Recorder Rita Cox said early voting for the city's excess levy election would begin on Friday.

She said since election was scheduled the same day as the WVU-Marshall football game, she hoped sports fans would take advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballots early.


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