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Cairo installs new emergency siren

CAIRO — A new emergency siren was installed last week for the Cairo community after it went without one for about a year.

A siren dating back to the World War II era sits atop an old bank building in Cairo and Fire Chief Zach Foster said the owners of that building, the Ritchie County Historical Landmarks Commission, didn’t want the siren to be used.

“When I was first approached, I was told we were going to have to take it down. We don’t have the funds to do that,” Foster said. “Their reasoning (is) they got a grant to replace the roof. The company said they wanted it removed to put the roof on (but) we asked the company and they said it was fine.”

The old siren was at the risk of being removed and Foster said the community came together in protest to protect the siren.

“It is still there on that building. When all this happened when they were coming to remove the siren, (we) had a protest of upwards of 40 people. They wanted to keep it there and keep it active until we could find a replacement,” Foster said.

The old siren was disconnected and Foster said it was about a year before they were able to find and install a new one.

After community support through fundraisers and donations, a new siren was purchased from a local person who had one in their basement that had been purchased at an auction.

“It was brand new, the fact that we found it so close was crazy. It was still in the shipping container. (We) bought it for a reasonable price,” Foster said.

The new siren is next to the fire station and Foster said it’s louder and reaches to residents who weren’t able to hear the older one.

To help bring in funding for the fire department, Cairo Fire Department is hosting a drive through spaghetti dinner Feb. 6 starting at 4 p.m. Spaghetti, a salad and bread will be available for $7 per plate which can be picked up at the Cairo Community Building.

Foster said the community has always been supportive of the department and he’s grateful for their dedication.

“We’re pretty lucky. We had a lot of community support (from) the people who came out and supported this issue and this cause,” Foster said. “We’ve got great people. (Our) mayor and city council (members) are very supportive of our department so we’re glad to have that relationship.”

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