HAILEYVILLE, Okla. – As a tornado barreled toward their town earlier this week, an Oklahoma community says it wasn’t able to sound its tornado sirens.
The town of Haileyville, located near McAlester, was hit hard by Tuesday’s storms.
In all, officials say 22 homes and three businesses were destroyed by the tornado. Several others suffered some damage during the storm, and one woman suffered a leg injury.
Although three tornado warnings were issued for the area, tornado sirens didn’t sound.
“They had the ambulance out there trying to let people know this is serious. Take shelter and they did what they could, knowing that they didn’t have the siren,” Syliva Jefferson, whose business was damaged in the tornado, told KJRH.
City leaders in Haileyville say the siren hasn’t worked in years. Haileyville Mayor David Johnston says he would like to get two new sirens for the town, but he isn’t sure if that is feasible.
“It’s very old,” said Johnston. “Obviously with it being a small town, I don’t have the funds available for that.”
Until new sirens can be purchased, first responders will be responsible for alerting residents to danger.
“We knew we were getting a tornado, so we automatically started our sirens on the vehicles and PA system,” said Haileyville Fire Chief Kevin Mick.
Johnston hopes that the city will be awarded a grant so they can purchase the new sirens.