Hank Sims / @ 10:55 a.m. / Our Culture

Arcata Fire Says: Out With the Noon Siren, In With the Mellifluous and Historical Noon Bell!


Arcata’s noon siren — a daily sonic fixture of the town for 40 years — was hoisted away this morning.

From the Arcata Fire District:

This morning cranes hoisted the siren from the top of the Arcata Station. The siren, which was used from about 1975 until the early 1990’s to summon firefighters to respond, will be replaced with the historic fire bell.

According to Chief Desmond Cowan, “The bell will be placed back on the building once a local restoration expert has stripped off the garish gold paint and the patina is restored. We’re all really excited to see such great progress on the building projects.”

The removal of the siren is one of a number of very visible signs of the progress that has been made on the long-discussed projects. Firefighters should be back in the downtown Arcata station by mid-summer. Once the Arcata station is completed, work will begin on the McKinleyville Fire Station. The facility redesigns are focused on providing a modern facility to meet the needs of the District for many years to come. “Without the great collaboration between the District and the Volunteers, this wouldn’t be possible. Also, the community support continues to be instrumental in our success,” said Chief Cowan. The projects are being funded through the Volunteers as well as by generous bequests from the Orvamae Emmerson Endowment and the estate of Lilly Lucchesi. Fundraising efforts in partnership with Arcata Sunrise Rotary as well as many donations from residents have contributed to the success of projects.

Although the siren will no longer sound at noon, it will be coming back for the Kinetic Sculpture Race each year. The siren has been donated to the Kinetic Museum and their crews will be creating a way to transport and operate the siren for the race.

Historic Arcata bell tower.

Once the building is complete, the bell will sound daily. The bell that will be in the tower on top of the station was used by Arcata Fire from 1908 to 1948. Prior to that, notification of fires came after arrangements were made in 1884 with the Arcata and Mad River Rail Road to sound their bell as an alarm. In 1887, the rail road donated a bell and the tradition of “ringing the bell” continued for another 60 years.

“The modernization and changes to the buildings are an outward sign of the way our organization continues to change, both operationally and organizationally. We are working hard to catch up with the changes that have occurred throughout the communities we serve,” said Cowan.

More information on the District, including the Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2020 is available at www.arcatafire.org.

This morning cranes hoisted the siren from the top of the
Arcata Station. The siren, which was used from about 1975 until the early 1990’s to
summon firefighters to respond, will be replaced with the historic fire bell. According to
Chief Desmond Cowan, “The bell will be placed back on the building once a local
restoration expert has stripped off the garish gold paint and the patina is restored. We’re all
really excited to see such great progress on the building projects.”
The removal of the siren is one of a number of very visible signs of the progress that has
been made on the long-discussed projects. Firefighters should be back in the downtown
Arcata station by mid-summer. Once the Arcata station is completed, work will begin on
the McKinleyville Fire Station. The facility redesigns are focused on providing a modern
facility to meet the needs of the District for many years to come. “Without the great
collaboration between the District and the Volunteers, this wouldn’t be possible. Also, the
community support continues to be instrumental in our success,” said Chief Cowan. The
projects are being funded through the Volunteers as well as by generous bequests from the
Orvamae Emmerson Endowment and the estate of Lilly Lucchesi. Fundraising efforts in
partnership with Arcata Sunrise Rotary as well as many donations from residents have
contributed to the success of projects.
Although the siren will no longer sound at noon, it will be coming back for the Kinetic
Sculpture Race each year. The siren has been donated to the Kinetic Museum and their
crews will be creating a way to transport and operate the siren for the race. Once the
building is complete, the bell will sound daily. The bell that will be in the tower on top of
the station was used by Arcata Fire from 1908 to 1948. Prior to that, notification of fires
came after arrangements were made in 1884 with the Arcata and Mad River Rail Road to
sound their bell as an alarm. In 1887, the rail road donated a bell and the tradition of
“ringing the bell” continued for another 60 years.
WE EXIST TO PROTECT THE LIVES, ENVIRONMENT, AND PROPERTY OF THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE
ARCATA FIRE DISTRICT
631 NINTH STREET, ARCATA, CA 95521-6204
(707) 825-2000 Fax: (707) 822-7951
“The modernization and changes to the buildings are an outward sign of the way our
organization continues to change, both operationally and organizationally. We are working
hard to catch up with the changes that have occurred throughout the communities we
serve,” said Cowan.
More information on the District, including the Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2020 is available
at www.arcatafire.org.

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