Blytheville tornado sirens fail to sound during tornado

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (WMC) - A twister in Blytheville caused damage Wednesday, and sirens designed to warn residents never went off.

The reason: the sirens are broken.

After several tornado sightings, Blytheville Police Department went to sound the tornado siren but discovered they didn't work.

"This is an antiquated system that needs some severe updating," Assistant Chief of Blytheville Police Department Ricky Jefferson said.

Jefferson said this isn't the first time the sirens have failed since their installation in 1977.

"We sent every officer out in the neighborhood that we could, sounding their sirens and getting on the PA advising the citizens to take cover. And if it happens again? We'll do the same thing, exactly the same thing," Jefferson said.

He said the city council is planning to spend nearly $200,000 to completely replace the system. But that work won't be done until next year, which is too long to wait according to some.

"That's really bad, because I mean that could have been somebody's life right there," resident Adam Rocha said.

In the meantime, the police department asks everyone to be extra careful.

"Just want everybody to be safe out here," Jefferson said.

Grace Communications out of Jonesboro is coming to Blytheville Friday to see if they can temporarily get the sirens running again.

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