City of Niles fire and utility crews installed a refurbished tornado siren Wednesday morning on Silverbrook Ave. Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

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Tornado siren ready to sound off

Published 1:47pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It took Niles fire and utility crews about an hour to install a newly refurbished tornado siren on top of a utility pole on Silverbrook Avenue near Thomas Stadium in Niles Wednesday morning.

The tornado siren is one of three mechanical driven sirens, which can be activated by Niles Fire Department and City of Niles dispatch center.

Niles Fire Capt. Donald Wise said the Silverbrook siren was originally installed in 1978. Due to wear and tear over the years, the siren became unreliable.

Wise said birds had broken through the mesh screen in the fiberglass housing and made nests inside. The gearbox seals and other mechanical parts were becoming worn out, so the siren was taken down in February.

Berrien County Commissioner John LaMore repaired and painted the fiberglass housing and Enyart Electric Motor repair was selected to refurbish the electric motor and gearbox. Niles city firefighters helped disassemble and assemble the siren.

The total cost of project was $3,319.

Wise said it would cost $7,000 to $9,000 to replace each tornado siren. He expects the refurbish job to extend the service of the siren by 10 to 15 years.

The city plans to refurbish the other two tornado sirens located on Grand Avenue and Sheffield Avenue in November.

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