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Fire safety company gets tax breaks to stay on Long Island

A safety company that helps employers and landlords prepare for fires, disasters and other emergencies wants to move to Hauppauge instead of Pennsylvania.

Croker Fire Drill Corp. hopes to purchase and renovate a 13,526-square-foot building at 235 Brooksite Dr. that is more than three times the size of its rented home in Islip Terrace.

The company expects to move in 2016.

The $3 million project will alleviate cramped conditions, said Brian L. Weinstein, who owns the business with his father, Ray.

"The inadequate work space for employees limits our opportunity for growth," he said.

Brian Weinstein also said he had considered moving Croker to Pennsylvania, where he and his father live.

"We want to keep our headquarters in Suffolk County even though it would be cost-effective to move to Pennsylvania. But we want to keep our loyal employees," Brian Weinstein said.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency backed Croker last week with $220,000 in tax breaks, including a reduction in property taxes over 10 years.

The company promised to maintain its local workforce of 32 people. They earn, on average, $78,291 per year, records show.

Croker was founded in 1911 by Edward F. Croker, the former chief of the Fire Department of New York who pushed for changes in building codes and fire prevention after the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire at the Triangle Waist Co. in lower Manhattan.

The March 25, 1911, fire killed 146, primarily young immigrant women, in 18 minutes and led New York State to adopt factory safety rules that eventually became federal law.

Croker was fire chief at the time of the fire and often cited it when pushing for tougher fire precautions, according to historians.

Croker Fire, with annual sales of about $5 million, helps employers and landlords in the Northeast comply with fire codes and provides training for drills, evacuations and use of fire extinguishers and other equipment.

It also aids in preparations for natural disasters, explosions and chemical or biological emergencies.

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