700 Pound Predicament in Pamlico

Town siren raises questions

Pamlico County - In the small town of Oriental, a big project is underway. Town hall is being completely remodeled. The building is being expanded the floors are being raised, and new eco-friendly facilities are being implemented.

"It's a complete remodel." said construction worker Jesse Burges, "we've been at it for about six weeks now."

Behind Town Hall stood a local land mark, a 700 pound World War 2 siren used to notify volunteer fire fighters of emergencies. Just like town hall, the siren got a face lift. Volunteers took the siren off its 30 foot post, and affectionately named it "Aggie".  After weeks of work, the behemoth was sanded, and repainted bright yellow.

But once the siren left its post, townspeople started wondering. The loud siren often jolts sleepers and residents that live close to town center. Questions were raised as to how important the siren is. To that, volunteer Fire Fighter and Station Engineer of Southeast Pamlico Volunteer Fire Department Bob Dales says, if anything, it helps insurance rates.

"Without having the backup siren as a means of identification, we wouldn't get the rating that we have now. This helps our rating, it's one of the things the I.S.O. looks at," said Dales.

The fact that the town has two means to alert them to danger is what lowers the rating. All volunteers wear radios or beepers that are sounded during an emergency, the siren is the second alert. Still some community members say the alarm is antiquated.

"In this day in age, of electronics, there's far better means and more reliable means to alert the individuals that need to be alerted." said Oriental resident Frank Miller.

Regardless, commissioners have decided the siren will be returned to its familiar home behind town hall in the next few weeks. However, to cut back on the disturbance, efforts to reduce the length of the wail will be taken. The pole on which "Aggie" stands will also be twenty feet higher, in hopes the sound won't blare directly into homes.

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