Take a look inside one of CNY's former bomb shelters
SYRACUSE, N.Y. —
A scare in Hawaii following a false alarm about a nuclear attack has sparked a national response with many wondering how they would prepare for an actual nuclear war.
With that in mind, we took a look back at an old nuclear fallout shelter right here in Central New York. An underground bunker at the Onondaga Historical Association in downtown Syracuse served as a fallout shelter up until the 1960's. It was designed to be a place where people could rush to in the event of an attack on the country.
The building was built back in 1906 and originally dedicated as the hub for the Bell Telephone Company.
"(It) really was the center of communications for the entire community," Gregg Tripoli, Executive Director of OHA, said. "And in the event of an incident, they wanted to make sure that the central communications stayed intact."
The more than 60,000 square-foot building had another function, especially during the threat of bombings during the cold war era.
"People my age or older we lived in the 'duck and cover' age where you prepared for some sort of potential attack and there were buildings around the community that were marked with a shelter sign as this building is," Tripoli said.
In the basement of the building sits a diesel engine.
"This massive sort of generator that would be put into use - it would kick in in the event that the electricity in the area went out and affected the building," Tripoli said.
Signs of protective measures line the alley next to OHA.
"Metal shutters on the outside of the building over every window so that at the touch of a button those shutters could then come down and close off the windows," Tripoli explained. "So it's a large building to think that the entire thing is a safety shelter."
OHA says you can call and ask all the questions you want about the what the shelter was like, but...
"The components that made this building a fallout shelter are no longer functioning," Tripoli said. "So don't come to OHA in the event of some sort of attack."
There are other fallout shelters in downtown Syracuse, including some churches near Columbus Circle. County Emergency Management reiterates these former shelters are no longer operational and they are not part of the current emergency plan.