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San Onofre siren wakes nearby residents, turns out to be false alarm

January 19, 2010 |  8:44 am

SanOnofre A siren went off this morning at the San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Clemente, but it turned out to be a false alarm, officials said.

The siren woke nearby residents about 4:30 a.m., and calls began pouring into the Orange County Sheriff’s office and Southern California Edison.

“There was no emergency last night,” said Lt. Theodore Boyne.

Edison technicians reached the siren within 30 minutes and shut it off, said utility spokesman Gil Alexander.

A preliminary investigation concluded the alarm, which had made a “warbly” call instead of holding at a constant pitch, had been caused by an exceedingly rare equipment error.

“The last time one of these sirens malfunctioned was 15 years ago,” Alexander said.

The siren, one of 52 placed throughout the area and operated by local communities, is designed to alert residents to tune into their local television and radio station for safety information, Alexander said.

Technicians were investigating the cause of the malfunction. The power plant is just south of San Clemente adjoining Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base.

-- Amina Khan

Photo: The San Onofre nuclear power plant. Credit: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

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