Cortlandville’s Board of Fire Commissioners will meet tonight (December 17) at 7 p.m. for their regular monthly meeting, where a nonrenewal vote is expected that would cancel a longstanding coverage contract with the Homer Fire Department.
The town currently contracts Homer F.D. to cover areas that are technically considered Cortlandville but are much closer in proximity to Homer, specifically residential areas on Lighthouse Hill Road, Locust Avenue, and a large swath of geography south of Routes 11 and 13 to the city line.
If passed tonight, Homer crews would no longer be called to fires and other EMS situations in these areas, even if they’re much closer to them than the Cortlandville Fire Department on Terrace Road.
At the request of many concerned residents being affected, a public hearing will be held before tonight’s meeting at 7:00 at this location.
The history between the two departments dates back to 1973, when there was no fire department in the Town of Cortlandville.
At that time, Homer and McGraw Fire Departments were providing fire protection under financial contract. However, an early-morning house fire that killed a family of four on September 20th of that year changed everything.
A large reason the fatalities occurred was because of the time it took for crews to get from Main Street in Homer to the location of the fire on Glenwood Avenue (off Tompkins Street) in Cortlandville.
Soon after, Hose Company #4 of the Homer Fire Department was formed on Terrace Avenue, without a formal name, in order to cover areas of Cortlandville that were out of safe reach of the Homer and McGraw departments.
It wasn’t until January of 1982 that the Cortlandville Fire Department officially began its operations.
Of great significance has always been the cooperation of the Homer Fire Department and the Town of Cortlandville, as the town was previously a fire protection district and could not own or operate fire equipment.
Homer Fire Department was formed in 1873, and its current district is about 125 square miles, covering about 13,000 residents in the Village of Homer, the Town of Homer, Town of Scott, Town of Summerhill, and the north central portion of the Town of Cortlandville.
That coverage area could look much different depending on what happens tonight.