Friday, April 10, 2015

Emergency whistle in rural West Virginia town goes silent at night after resident threatens legal action

A whistle that warns the 1,800 residents in rural Romney, W.V., of emergencies has gone silent from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. because one citizen threatened to sue the local fire department for creating a noise disturbance, Maria Pisciotta reports for The State Journal. Fire chief G.T. Parsons, who said the Romney Fire Company has more important things to do than spend the public's money on a court battle, did note that last year when a school fire alarm went off in the middle of the night, the only responders were those who heard the whistle. (Best Places map: Romney, W.V.)

Public support of the whistle is split, Pisciotta writes. Locals have complained for years about the loud, annoying noise, but others say they favor safety over comfort and have offered to donate money for legal fees to keep the whistle available at all times.

The main concern for supporters of the whistle is public safety. Delegate Gary Howell (R-Mineral) told Pisciotta, “My primary concern is in the middle of the night when people are asleep, their cell phones are off, TV off, radio off, computer off, they need to be warned if there is a tornado coming or other quick moving threat. The siren is a way to warn that segment of the public.” (Read more)

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