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Fire safety firm moving to Woodbury from Brooklyn, wins IDA tax aid

Robert Catalano (l) and Joseph Capone, owners of

Robert Catalano (l) and Joseph Capone, owners of Total Fire Protection review a work order with employee Jemille McCinniss (c) at their Brooklyn office, Sep. 7. Credit: Jeff Bachner

A Brooklyn company that inspects, repairs and installs fire extinguishers, sprinklers and kitchen fire suppression systems has won tax breaks to move to Woodbury rather than New Jersey, officials said.

Total Fire Protection plans to purchase and renovate a 31,250-square-foot office building at 111 Crossways Park Drive West for its new headquarters and warehouse.

The $6 million project will more than double the company’s space. It currently has 12,000 square feet spread between the main office on Avenue N in Brooklyn and a satellite office on Sunrise Highway in Bellmore, said co-owner and president Joseph Capone.

In July, Total Fire won from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency a sales-tax exemption of up to $69,130 on the purchase of construction materials and equipment and up to $34,765 off the mortgage recording tax.

The company will save on property taxes because the current annual amount of $237,581 will be unchanged for four years, followed by tax-rate increases of 1.23% in each of the subsequent 13 years, an IDA official said on Wednesday.

In return, Total Fire will preserve 133 jobs in New York State and add 28 over the next three years. Records show most of the employees earn between $34,855 and $57,860.

"I started the company back in 2000" with brother and partner Robert Catalano, Capone said. "We built it from the ground up … Our goal is to continue to grow the business and bring everything under one umbrella, to create a training center for the employees," he said.

Total Fire specializes in fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, emergency exit signs and lighting, fireproofing, defibrillators and other safety equipment.

Capone told the IDA board that he has lived in Nassau for 12 years but "my brother lives in New Jersey and would like to see the company move there." But his brother, Catalano, agreed to the Woodbury project.

Total Fire applied for IDA aid after Capone met IDA chairman Richard Kessel in the spring at a golf fundraiser for the EAC Network, a social service agency based in Hempstead village. Kessel is chairman of the EAC board.

"This could lead to more businesses from the city coming to Nassau County," Kessel said. "We’re not going to recruit them but if they want to come here, we will take them."

Total Fire expects to move to Woodbury by June, according to its application for tax breaks.

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