Sirens repaired; lightning was culprit
City crews have discovered that lightning damage to a transformer caused Marion’s storm sirens to malfunction last week.
Originally, it was thought winds might have blown the system’s signal wire into another wire or the side of a building, causing a breaker to trip. However, utility supervisor Marty Fredrickson said crews located the source of the problem in an alleyway south of the transfer station.
“A lightning strike shorted out all the windings inside a transformer,” Fredrickson said. “We had to totally replace the transformer.”
The sirens were repaired June 28. Fredrickson said that it was possible the same problem could happen again.
“Anything is possible,” he said. “Lightning could hit the same transformer or another one in the same circuit.”
However, sirens were blaring again Monday in another round of tests.
“Somebody called in and said one wasn’t working when we tested them the time before,” Fredrickson said.
Crews replaced a blown fuse, trimmed branches around a signal wire, and tested it again.
“The one by itself was the one with the blown fuse,” Fredrickson said. “Then they did a test with all of them in the loop.”
The test was successful, and no subsequent problems were reported.
He noted that crews would lengthen the regular testing of sirens from about 20 seconds to 1 minute in order to give operators and residents more time to listen for malfunctions.
The city has encouraged residents to report any problems to Fredrickson at (620) 382-6671, city electricians at (620) 382-6670, or Marion police at (620) 382-2651.