Coaldale borough council on Tuesday agreed to research how much it would cost to either repair or replace the town's fire siren, which has prompted several complaints from residents.

Councilman Andrew Girard, head of the Fire and Ambulance Committee, asked council to approve the research and to authorize Councilman David Yelito to seek grant money to help pay for the project.

The agreement to research the costs is "fact finding," said Councilman Joseph Hnat. Council expects to discuss the matter further when it meets at 7 p.m. May 11.

The matter surfaced at a Feb. 23 council meeting when Mayor Richard Corkery called the siren a nuisance and suggested it be silenced.

That prompted a strong response from borough Fire Chief Richard Marek, who said the siren is necessary because not all of his firefighters have pagers, which cost about $500 each. Marek also said the siren, installed by the federal government as a civil defense measure in the 1970s, alerts citizens to emergencies. Surrounding communities, including Tamaqua, Lansford, Summit Hill, Hometown and Hauto, also have sirens. Only eight communities in Schuylkill County do not use the sirens, Marek said.

The siren was designed to emit a variety of sounds, one for each type of alert. Now, however, the siren is stuck on the piercing "attack" sound.

In a related matter, council urged Coaldale residents to subscribe to Lansford Ambulance services. Lansford Ambulance provides the borough's Basic Life Support services.