"Fear is NOT an Option"
PROTECTING THE LIVES
AND PROPERTY FROM FIRE
"EMS Agency of the Year"
Through the years Cicero has had its share of major working fires. In the early years, Cicero being a farming community, barn fires were very common. Before the advent of tankers and tanker-pumpers and the mutual aid system, unless there was a water source next to the barn, it generally was a total loss. All the fire department could do was save the adjacent buildings.
In the 1950’s one of the hangers at Michael Field became a spectacular fire. In the early 1960’s there were many barn fires that were set by an arsonist. One of these arson fires caused a tragic lost to the Cicero Department and the community. At the Meltzer Farm barn fire on July 19, 1963, Robert Sharp who had only joined the department two months earlier died fighting the fire when a piece of farm equipment fell on him.
In the 60’s Cicero’s 53 Dodge engine was in a hose relay supplying water to an aerial platform at the K Mart fire in Hinsdale (Northern Lights Area). Larger capacity pumpers were at the start or hydrant end of the relay. The platform shut down quickly which caused damage to Cicero’s smaller capacity pump.
Two large fires in Baldwinsville in the 60’s required help from Cicero. In 1960 an old mill on the Seneca River burned to the ground. Cicero assisted at that fire. On April 29, 1961 an explosion at a Laundromat caused a major fire. Escaping natural gas fed the fire. Cicero’s Dodge Engine 3 drafted water from the Seneca River to a Plainville engine and relayed to the fire.
In the winter of 1968 there was a major gasoline leak from an underground tank at the ARCO station at Route 11 and Crabtree Lane. The gasoline traveled under Route 11 and into the cellars of several business and homes on the east side of the highway. Cicero Fire Department was on alert for around a week while the ARCO corporation pumped three tanker loads of gasoline from these cellars.
On December 2, 1971 a spectacular fire destroyed Martin’s Chicken on the Rough restaurant on Route 11. The total loss was estimated at $300,000 at 1971 prices. Past Chief Bob Potter was overcome by smoke and received oxygen for only fifteen minutes and returned to fight the fire. Aerial Platforms from North Syracuse and Moyers Corners attacked the fire from above. Cicero was on the scene for approximately 20 to 24 hours.
An early morning fatal fire on August 8, 1981 destroyed Paddy’s Ranch, a tavern-residence on Route 11 North. Co-owner Mrs. Julia Traylour was found dead in the building. The cause of the fire and the death of Mrs. Traylour were never determined.
On December 25, 1981there was a fire at Happy Hearth in the Cicero Plaza. The next evening, December 26 a major fire broke out in the Brooks Store in the same plaza. This variety 5-10 store was fully involved when Cicero firemen arrived. This store was a total loss but the IGA next door was saved.
A serious propane gas leak at Gamlen Recreation Dealership on August 5, 1982 caused evacuation of 75 residents. A knee-deep vapor cloud enveloped the scene. Water spray from the department and a developing wind helped dissipate the danger. Cicero firefighter Dennis Deapo received a Resolution from Assemblyman Michael Bragman and the State Legislature for his courage and dedication at the incident.
Cicero also responded on mutual aid to many spectacular fires. In the fifty’s the Bowling Green bowling alley burned in North Syracuse. Cicero spent many hours at that fire.
The Cicero volunteers have assisted Brewerton our neighboring department to the north many times. The Brewerton Boat Yard fire in the late 60’s was a hard fight. One of Cicero’s Ford TP’s drafted from a boat launching pad for many hours. During this pumping process the engine slide a few feet into river and had to be towed out when the fire was out. Ten or fifteen years ago the hotel in Brewerton burned requiring Cicero’s help again.
On December 29, 2006 a father and son in a pick up truck lost control at Route 11 and Factory Avenue and drove into the creek at that location. The truck was almost completely submerged in the water. Seven members of the department plus police officers entered the freezing cold water and extracted the two men. The older man died within hours but the younger son lived for about a week in the hospital. The town of Cicero and the Onondaga County Volunteer Fireman’s Association gave Awards of Valor to Chief Rich Carvel, Asstistant Chiefs Jon Barrett and Ron Barling, Lietenant George Barrett, Firefighter Richard Mayers, Firefighter Rick Ostrander and Firefighter Eric Nicholas.
A major fire occurred on Memorial Day weekend on Saturday May 27, 2007. It was a house fire on Michael Jon Way off Thompson Road. There was a long delay in reporting this fire. The house was built of the new light construction material. These two factors resulted in a total loss of the home.