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New cell tower project in limbo

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Fire Department Chief Greg Sulahian told the Board of Fire Commissioners Monday night that the Center Firehouse hasn’t had a working alarm system in the building for three months.

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Fire Department Chief Greg Sulahian told the Board of Fire Commissioners Monday night that the Center firehouse hasn’t had a working alarm system in the building for three months.

Commissioner Andy Reeve reported that despite several calls to Elite Towers to determine the status of a proposed new tower at the Manhanset firehouse, it remains in limbo.

“They owe us an explanation,” Ms. Rosenblum said. “How long can this go on?”

The last conversation with an Elite spokesperson revealed that the tower provider was trying to finalize a deal with Verizon to put its antenna on the structure. But that was quite awhile ago, Mr. Reeve said.

It is up to Elite to submit an application to the Town Board for a special permit to erect the tower.

Once that’s done, a clock begins running, giving the commissioners 180 days to back out of the contract it signed with Elite.

While the commissioners took no action this week, it’s clear they find the inactivity troublesome.

Mr. Reeve will continue to try to determine where plans stand.

Anybody home?
The Center firehouse is without a working alarm system that would sound in the event of fire on the premises.

Who’s to blame?

Fire commissioners Monday night pointed the finger at Paul Romanelli of Suffolk Security with whom the district has a maintenance contract.

Mr. Romanelli pointed back at the commissioners whose responsibility, he said, is to have two working telephone lines when only one is in service.

Fire district attorney Helen Rosenblum was slated to call Mr. Romanelli Tuesday morning while secretary/treasurer Amber Williams was to send a registered letter to Mr. Romanelli that would be copied to the fire district’s insurance company.

Concerned about liability to the district, Commissioner Larry Lechmanski got approval from Ms. Rosenblum to send the letters even though she hoped to work out the problem with Mr. Romanelli.

Fire Chief Greg Sulahian said the system hasn’t worked in three months. Suffolk Security sent someone to fix it, but all that was done was wrapping tape around a line that had been burned out.

“That’s so not true,” Mr. Romanelli said in a telephone interview with the Reporter Tuesday morning about the charge that he has been unresponsive to requests for service.

The problem is there’s not a required secondary phone line in the building because the district has failed to have the line fixed, he said. In a conversation with Ms. Rosenblum Tuesday, he said he told her that a solution would be to convert the second line from a land to a cellular phone.

“That would solve the problem,” he said.

Rope trick
Despite extensive research before spending approximately $28,000 on ropes to enable firefighters working inside a building to escape, the purchased equipment has turned out to be ineffective. The ropes received are better used for mountain climbers than firefighters and the company that supplied them is no longer providing training in their use.

The commissioners are will try to sell the ropes online and purchase new ropes from another company that would not only train members to use them, but teach a department member who could then train others.

Failing a sale of the ropes, the commissioners would try to contribute the ropes firefighters can’t use to an organization that could use them and take a tax write off.

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