Neighbors in Delaware County sound off over fire siren debate

DREXEL HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- There are dueling petitions in a Delaware County, Pennsylvania town and it's dividing the neighborhood.

The siren at the Garrettford Drexel Hill Volunteer Fire Company has been a signal for decades for firefighters to get to firehouse, and for cars to clear the street. Now, the call is controversial.

"It was so loud. I was like what is going on. I was like there's no way I'm buying this house. That's a dealbreaker," said Julia Rodriguez, who said she ended up buying a house in the neighborhood anyway.

"It's what protects everyone. Especially when they're coming in so you know, wait, stop they're coming out of the firehouse," said Jenna Borelli who's lived in the neighborhood for 18 years.

"Oh, it's always been annoying but I'm used to it. Yeah it's loud as heck," said Donna Vottero, who grew up in the neighborhood.

"They have cell phones, they have ways to communicate with each other that do work," said Yodit Tsegai.

Tsegai told Upper Darby Township Council she thinks it's a nuisance at their meeting Wednesday night. She's lived behind the firehouse for about a year and a half.

"When a siren goes off, it doesn't tell a firefighter where to go. There is valuable time being wasted," Tsegai said.

She started a petition over the weekend to turn it off and has about 60 signatures so far.

"I knocked on the door of a firefighter that pretty much told me to go back to where I came from, so I feel a little threatened to keep going," Tsegai said.

On Election Day, the fire company had a sign up asking people to not sign the petition and is now offering a counter-petition to keep the siren.

The current mayor says he signed an ordinance just two weeks ago to allow the siren at the firehouse.

"The only way that ordinance will change is that the council body will work to change it and prohibit it. And that's probably not going to go to well with those firefighters," Mayor Tom Micozzie said.

The mayor-elect, who unseated Micozzie Tuesday, isn't taking a side.

"I would like to talk to Jim Hoban who's the fire chief and see what can be done. I don't have a position right now," said Mayor-elect Barbarann Keffer

Action News has reached out to the fire company several times and has been told "no comment."
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