The fire alarm that rang from the roof of the former Fennell Street firehouse for years hasn't sounded since Nov. 17.

Members of the Skaneateles Volunteer Fire Department presented two petitions regarding the alarm to the village Board of Trustees. One had signatures of firefighters who want the alarm to be reinstalled, and the other was for those who don't. The petition for those in favor of reinstating the fire horn had approximately 40 signatures, while the petition to keep it silent was blank.

At the meeting, Trustee Jim Lanning asked the board about the fire alarm's removal last fall and its possible return. He said he considered the alarm a village "institution for 100 years."

"I'm in favor of having notification to the community of some kind of catastrophic event," Lanning said. "I'm in favor of a reduced-decibel fire siren being erected on a pole. But I'm a little confused about how it was turned off and taken down without village board approval."

Firefighter Jim Buff, president of the Skaneateles Fire Department, Inc., told the trustees that misinformation surrounds the fire alarm issue. The Insurance Service Organization issued an opinion that the village didn't need the alarm, especially since it has a local dispatch center. However, that communication center was disbanded years ago. Also, there was confusion as to if surrounding communities had similar alarms.

"I think it's a travesty we have as many rumors going around," Mayor Marty Hubbard said, "and we will separate the fact from the fictions."

Buff, along with Fire Chief Eric Sell, agreed to meet with Hubbard and Trustee Sue Jones, the board's liaison with the fire department, before the next regular board meeting.

Sell and village attorney Mike Byrne corresponded this week about the insurance implications of the village having a fire alarm at all.

"It's not just for the firemen. We have people saying that when they hear the siren, they know that there is some sort of emergency and they look for the blue lights," Buff said after the board meeting. "It was turned off without our knowledge, period, and we have not been informed about any of it."

Carrie Chantler may be reached at 685-5701 or

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