Plans ongoing for Hollidaysburg fire whistle

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Borough officials are moving forward with discussions to repair or replace the local fire whistle in the wake of a devastating February fire.

The Feb. 27 fire destroyed four buildings on the 100 block of Allegheny Street and displaced 10 people, though none were injured. The whistle, councilmember Joseph Dodson said, would alert residents to potential danger to ensure that no one gets hurt in the future.

“The quicker we get [the whistle] done, the better and safer it will be for the people,” Dodson said.

Dodson told the rest of council at its monthly meeting Thursday night that he had been working to get in touch with the new owners of the old fire station to potentially repair the whistle there.

That would likely be the easiest solution, he said.

Hollidaysburg fire marshal David Zeek said that the repairs would not be hard to put together if they get the go-ahead from the property owner because he knows the person who has been fixing it for decades.

“He’s the one that worked on it for the past 40 years plus,” Zeek said.

Dodson said he and Zeek are also discussing moving a whistle from Hillcrest to Canal Basin Park if the repairs do not pan out.

Zeek said that location would allow most of the borough to hear the whistle if there is a fire emergency.

If the whistle is put in the park, Dodson said it would be mounted on an 85 foot-high pole.

Talks to repair the whistle began last month, when the borough heard an update on the response and cleanup from the Feb. 27 blaze.

Zeek said that injuries would have been more likely if the fire had occurred at night, and that a whistle would help alleviate those concerns.

Zeek said the Phoenix Volunteer Fire Department is behind the plan, assuming there is no cost to the department.

Dodson said he would likely be able to secure necessary funds, so the borough would not have

to pay for the project, either.

Council did not vote officially to implement a new fire whistle, but there were no objections to moving forward with the plans.

Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.