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Garrison Works To Fix Tornado Siren

GARRISON, IA (CBS2/FOX28)--Thousands across the corridor heard the wail of storm sirens Monday as devastating winds and tornadoes barreled through.

In the Benton County town of Garrison though, the siren did not sound.

That prompted questions from some of our viewers.
The Garrison fire chief tells CBS 2 News that his department knew the siren wouldn't sound, so they did the only thing they could do to protect their neighbors.

Standing tall amongst Garrison's light polls, trees and buildings is the city's only storm siren.
"The siren's always been there. The replaced it here within the last year or so and that's really quite a siren up there compared to our old one," said Garrison resident, Paul Schallhase.
Schallhase has lived in Garrison for 72 years.

For more than 50 years he's served his community as a volunteer firefighter. He says the siren can be a life saver
"It's very very important because that's what the only way some of these people know that there's going to be a storm," he said.
But for weeks now, the siren hasn't worked.
"After the storm on June 16th I contacted the vendor who installed the siren the next morning. They were here that day took a look at it and determined that it had been struck by lightning and that's why it would not function," said fire chief, Steve Meyer.
Unfortunately for this community, that's not a quick fix.
They immediately ordered parts. They came back a week ago and tried to repair it found there was more damage than they thought, he said.
So the fire department took matters into their own hands Monday when they heard about the incoming storm
"Two of us got into one of the fire trucks and drove around town blowing the whistle," said Meyer.

"It was dangerous driving out there. And it really helped the people in town realize that the storm is coming and it was time to go to the basement," said Schallhase.

That Plan-B wasn't perfect, but it might have been enough to prevent a deadly outcome.
The fire chief says partial functionality of the siren was restored at about 10 this morning.

They plan to keep working on until it's fully restored.
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