DATE/TIME: Thursday, November 9th, 2006 / 04:30 PM

For the second consecutive year, the Schenectady Police and Fire Departments have been chosen as joint recipients of the New York State Fire Administrators Award for Excellence in Arson Programs. This prestigious award is bestowed annually to recognize accomplishments in arson investigation.

The 2006 award honors the combined efforts of the Police and Fire Departments, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the apprehension and conviction of Kevin Lynch, who intentionally set a fire at 10 Alvey Street on September 1, 2005 in which the 3 residents were killed.

The award was presented last Thursday – November 2nd – at a ceremony at the Annual Fall Arson Seminar Training Program in Montour Falls.

The Police and Fire Departments, along with B.A.T.F.E., also received the award last year for the identification, apprehension and conviction of serial arsonist Benjamin Harris, who set more than 75 intentional fires in New York and Florida.

Mayor Brian Stratton stated, “On behalf of all Schenectadians, I want to express the congratulations and thanks of a grateful community to the men and women of the Schenectady Police and Fire Departments for this award, and for the work they do every day to protect and serve.”

Chief of Police Michael Geraci said, “It is an honor for our departments to be presented with this distinguished award. It is rewarding to know that the tireless work of our investigators is appreciated and formally recognized.”

Fire Chief Robert Farstad stated, “This is a great accomplishment for our investigators in partnering with state and federal officials to take a very dangerous arsonist off the streets. This award highlights the work our team does on a daily basis.”