Irwin Borough seeks solution to fire siren, leaky roof |

Irwin Borough seeks solution to fire siren, leaky roof

Joe Napsha

The buckets that catch rainwater inside Irwin Borough’s offices will have to remain in place as borough officials try to solve a recurring problem — what to do with the town’s fire department siren atop the borough building roof, where water continues to leak inside the structure.

Borough officials last week postponed taking any action on hiring a contractor to reseal the area and fix the metal housing holding the siren believed to be source of the leak. John Stevens & Sons Roofing of Irwin bid $1,500 to do the project, but council members said they would wait until August so the Irwin fire department can obtain bids on fixing the leak around the siren. The base for the siren would have to be removed at least temporarily while repairs are being done.

The fire department has had difficulty obtaining bids on what is a specialty job — removing the siren and the fixtures that operate the siren, said Shawn Stitely, deputy fire chief. While the siren weighs only a few pounds, it is attached to a 40-gallon holding tank.

Council President Rick Burdelski questioned whether the siren could be placed on a pole attached to the building, but was told that could present problems, as well. The siren is attached to air compressors in the basement of the borough building and are too large to be removed through the doorways.

The roof of the building consists of rubber layers, and those are hard to keep sealed in the winter, said Lucien Bove, borough engineer.

Water has leaked into borough offices and the police department evidence room, said Shari Martino, the borough’s acting manager. Some ceiling tiles have been damaged as well.

Even though members of the fire department typically are notified of emergencies through cellphones and pagers, the siren, which has been atop the building for more than 50 years, remains an important part of alerting firefighters to an emergency, said Justin Mochar, Irwin fire chief. There are times when the alert system using the cellphones or pagers are not working, but he can still can hear the fire whistle, Mochar said.

Mochar has said moving the fire department siren to another building, like the fire hall, will make some other residents upset about the noise.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Norwin | Westmoreland
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