Small business owners in a plaza in South Utica are furious with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer following a fire that caused damage in the plaza where their businesses are conducted. The main issue they have is the horrible lack of cell phone service that made contacted emergency services very difficult.

Some may be asking, how is this issue Senator Schumer's fault? Dakotah Schaaf is a hair stylist who owns a salon that is housed in the Oneida Street plaza and she says it stems from a promise made by Schumer almost exactly a year ago. Schaaf says,

For years South Utica has been known as the dead zone. Last year Senator Schumer made an appearance at our plaza publicly demanding Verizon Wireless to fix the issue of no cell service. A year later I look back and think what a waste of a day. Nothing has been done. The dead zone still reigns. And this time when there was an emergency and need for a signal....all calls were dropped. And Schumer remains quiet.

The stretch of Oneida Street from around Proctor Boulevard to Higby Road is notorious for lost calls and zero bars. It is truly a problem and has many people scratching their heads as to why that may be. It is a pretty populated area and not in a remoted wooded location.

Nonetheless, something has to be done. The fire luckily didn't injure or kill anyone but now these business owners are left to deal with the repercussions of the blaze. People questioning the business owners stated why wasn't a landline used at one of the businesses? Some don't have landlines and let's look at some of the surrounding residences. Most people nowadays do not have a landline service. What if an unfortunate emergency like a fire, burglary or medical emergency occurred for one of the people who live in the area at their home occurred? Would they have to worry about a lack of cell phone service at their home and being able to reach 911?

As far as the efforts to improve the cell phone service quality, the Senator's office says a new cell tower is being built and there is a delay on Verizon's end. WIBX reached out to Senator Schumer's office for comment and spoke to a representative and he stated that the cell phone tower is being built and the hope it that will improve service. More information will be provided to WIBX from Senator Schumer's office as the day goes on.

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