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Southold Will Probably Not Sound Fire Alarms for Newtown Victims Friday

Some fire departments, further west, will ring alarm 26 times at 9:45 a.m., but at last one North Fork fire chief is afraid it will cause panic.

On the one week anniversary of the Newtown school shooting, vigils and various acts of remembrance for the victims will take place, such as the ringing of church bells, in communities around the nation.

However, there is one national commemoration that local fire departments have opted not to do out of fear it will cause more alarm during a week that already has many on edge after last week's violent attack. In addition, Friday marks the day the Mayans predicted the world would end.

The Suffolk County Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services sent out a memo to all county fire departments on Thursday noting that they could, if they chose to, sound their alarms 26 times on Friday morning at 9:45 in honor of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy and as a way to honor fellow firefighters and EMS personnel.

Southold Fire Department Chief Bill Byrnes said on Thursday afternoon that he'd just gotten the notification from the county but said that residents would most likely be more confused than anything about hearing so many alarms.

"I think it would just cause panic to tell the truth," he said. "I don't think this is something we will be able to do."

Byrnes added that the department had had their flag at half mast since the tragedy last Friday and will keep it there through tomorrow.

Other North Fork fire department chiefs were not immediately available for comment.

Joe Williams, the commissioner of Suffolk FRES, said his department is not advocating for the commemoration, but that the memo was sent out on behalf of fire departments that said they wanted to do it. "We're not telling them to do it. We have no authority to tell them do it," Williams said.

"Naturally everybody is concerned," he said that people won't know what the sirens are for exactly. He hoped the departments will spread the word. "I know for a fact that not every department is participating."

dave allison December 21, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I think that is a sensible and responsible response. I would like to hear the church bells instead.
JJB December 21, 2012 at 04:15 AM
I agree. most people would have no idea this was a tribute and would just hear the whistle 25 times more than normal and get scared and/or confused. Church bells are much more peaceful and these families need peace and comfort; sirens on the other hand are warnings of distress
Jeanne December 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I agree with the above post and think that ringing church bells is a great idea.
Ted Webb December 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Dave, Right on!
not a farmer December 21, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Believe it or not, its not about you... for goodness sake, cant you just leave anything alone. these poor people are greiving. its not a show for you. you are not required to do anything but show respect. irritating noise 100 miles away will bring no comfort to the families only obviously needy attention to the noise makers. smart move. just be quiet for a change.

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