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Tarrytown Residents Sound Alarm Over Fire Horns

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – The advent of pagers and cell phones has made Tarrytown's fire horns obsolete. That's one argument being made by residents on Sheldon Avenue, who live a few blocks away from one of the village's two fire horns.

The horns act as a signal to volunteer firefighters. When an alarm sounds, the fire horn will send out a specific number of blasts using compressed air, depending on the alarm's location. Firefighters also have radio pagers that send out a tone with a message detailing the emergency.

Firefighters say the horns are needed in case other forms of communication, such as their pagers, don't work. The horns also alert firefighters in neighboring villages about an alarm.

Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell explained that there has not been any decision made concerning the fire horns. Trustee Robert Hoyt, who is a volunteer firefighter, said the Fire Chief and the Board of Fire Wardens were looking into the situation to see if a solution could be found.

“No one is talking about taking away the whistle,” he said.

Hoyt added that the fire department couldn't always guarantee that the pagers will go off.

“That's why we need the fire whistles,” he said.

Martin Hauser lives on Windle Park, which is near the other fire horn in the village. Every month, he said during the meeting, someone comes to him with a letter or petition asking 'Can't we get rid of these sirens?'

“I say no, these guys say that they need the sirens,” he said. “That's good enough for me.”

Hauser said the horns bothered him only for about a day or two when he first moved to Tarrytown. The fact that the horns sometimes go off in the middle of the night doesn't bother him.

“I'm sleeping soundly in the middle of the night knowing that I'm protected from fire by these guys that donate their time to fighting them,” Hauser said.

Readers commented on the fire horn issue on The Daily Tarrytown's Facebook page . J. Peter Pagano wrote that the village should get rid of the horns. Marjorie Louch Coldrick asked what would happen if the pagers went down.

“I hope it's not my house on fire,” she wrote. “Get used to it. I doubt many people that grew up in the villages object to them.”

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