Neighbors upset sirens took one hour to sound

Published: Mar. 23, 2011 at 8:35 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2011 at 9:04 PM EDT
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Jim Segrest
Jim Segrest
Captain Salvadore Melendez
Captain Salvadore Melendez

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - There's more controversy over the city's sirens not sounding. Late on the monring of March 22, employees evacuated from the Swift Pork Company because of an ammonia leak. Butchertown area residents who called WAVE 3 were concerned that it took an hour for the warning sirens to go off.

"Of course it's a concern," said long-time Butchertown resident Jim Segrest. "It seems like that kind of lines up with the other problems that we've had about city government not responding to emergencies. A lot of similarity."

Cpt. Salvadore Melendez says that's not the case. Louisville Fire got the call at 11:20 a.m. at that point it was a level one hazmat situation. Melendez says as soon as it became a level two situation, Fire gave the Emergency Management Agency the order to sound the sirens, not because of an immediate threat, but as a precaution.

"We had declared it a level one hazmat incident," said Melendez. "So once we increased the level of the incident, that is something that takes place automatically, is you increase the level of the incident. One of the things that should be done is inform the public on that regard."

Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick says they sounded two sirens to alert people within one mile to go inside and close the windows.

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