Lyndeborough mulls reactivating fire whistle

LYNDEBOROUGH – The fire whistle on the roof of Citizens’ Hall hasn’t sounded since last summer, and a group of residents would like to see it restored to use. The selectmen have received a petition asking that the town "reactivate the town emergency siren." It was signed by the required 25 residents to place an article on the Town Meeting warrant. Many of the signers are members of the Lyndeborough Fire Department. An informal survey at the Village Store, which is close to the hall, revealed that the signers and their supporters want to keep it "because it’s been there forever," and that it’s a part of the town’s history that should be preserved. Although in recent years the siren has been sounded only for a few minutes once a month to test it, there are those in the immediate area who don’t like it and say that it bothers their babies. At their meeting last week, the selectmen said they didn’t know if the siren was currently working or if it was broken. If not functioning, they questioned whether it could be repaired and how much it would cost. They will try to find answers to those questions before Town Meeting. According to longtime resident Clayton Brown, who was a member of the fire department at the time, the siren was given to the town by the state in 1950. Since it came from state surplus, and judging by its size and shape, it’s possible that it originally was an air raid siren during World War II, although Brown said he didn’t know. The town’s first fire alarm was the church bells. According to older residents, once telephones were widely available, and before there were electronic pagers, the fire department set up a "telephone tree" to alert firemen in outlying areas and at work outside town. The current fire department was organized in 1930. The town purchased a "small Dodge truck," according to the 1955 history, and a pump. The department was reorganized and enlarged in 1947, and a fire station built the next year.