News

Old civil defense siren comes to life – at 1:15 a.m.

Newsday.com

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. (AP) _ An old civil defense siren that had not been used in 15 to 20 years suddenly went off in the middle of the night, rousing hundreds of residents and lighting up the Police Department’s switchboard like never before, a spokesman said Wednesday.

“We got 42 “911” calls and more than 60 non-emergency calls, almost simultaneously,” when the siren began wailing at about 1:15 a.m., said Yorktown Police Lt. Donald Schuck.

Some callers asked if there was an air raid, but more feared an emergency at the Indian Point nuclear power plants a few miles away in Buchanan, Schuck said. Some just wanted to get it turned off so they could go back to sleep.

In fact, there was no emergency and it wasn’t one of Indian Point’s 156 sirens. Investigators think some faulty wiring led to a short circuit that set off the lone siren at a firehouse on Route 132 and Locksley Road in Yorktown Heights.

It sounded for about 40 minutes before Yorktown Heights Fire Chief Martin McGannon, who was surprised the thing worked at all, managed to turn it off.

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.“

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