PALMYRA TWP. (WAYNE) - Lights on the cell phone tower on top the ridge overlooking Hawley have not been working for at least three weeks. Having no warning lights poses a threat to any medical helicopter that might be flying into Hawley, said Gene Krause, Deputy Chief, Hawley Fire Department.
Mention was made to The News Eagle Monday March 4th, that the lights had been off the night before and apparently worked intermittently for a few nights before that. Notification was subsequently made to the Palmyra Township (Wayne) Supervisors, Cherry Ridge Airport and the Hawley Fire Department.
Krause stated that he made contact with Steve Price, Director, Wayne County Emergency Management Agency and gave him the information from the cell tower site. Price then contacted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Krause related that Price was told that if the tower is in a flight path they are required to fix it within 24 hours of notification, otherwise they have 15 days to fix it.
Vincent Villano, manager at Cherry Ridge Airport, said that the tower is not in the pilots' normal flight path but has the potential of someone coming too close without seeing it. He had contacted the Federal Aviation Administration and was posting a sign for pilots to see at their facility, warning them that the lights were out.
The tower is near the Middle Creek Quarry and is easily visible from downtown. Red lights mark the tower when they are working.
Nextel Partners were the original company that applied for a permit for the tower. Township Zoning Officer Dennis Mynarski said at the March 4th Supervisors' meeting that because the most recent paperwork is from 2004, he was not sure if Nextel still owns the tower.
City-Data.com lists the tower with Minnesota Towers Inc., 300 Owego Turnpike, and is 76.2 meters high. Krause said that a sign at the tower property listed the owner as Glover Property Management, LLC, Marblehead, MA. Whether Nextel is the current carrier was not indicated, Krause said.
Cell phone service has still been working in Hawley.
"We will be watching to see when it is fixed," Krause said, given the danger the tower presents at night.