Tornado siren problems - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Tornado siren problems

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GRAND RAPIDS (WAOW) -- Chris and Teri Swearingen said they first heard about the dangerous storm that was just miles away from their home after turning on the news. With a tornado siren just across the street from their home on South Park Road, they said they expected to be the first to hear the alarm.

"Fortunately, yesterday, with the tornado that touched down about 5 miles from here, we did not lose our power, very happy for that. However, our siren did not sound, it did not go off once," said Teri Swearingen.

Chris said that's when he called dispatch to find out if they were in danger.

"I was confused, so I called the dispatchers to say 'Are we or are we not under a warning because the siren's not going off'. They said well, we turned the siren on a while ago. And I said it's definitely not going off," said Chris Swearingen.

While the storm didn't make it north to their neighborhood, the couple worries what could have happened if it did.

Newsline 9 was there as crews worked to fix the siren Monday. Grand Rapids Fire Department Chief, Scott Bernette, said there are five sirens located around Grand Rapids, and they're checked on a weekly basis.

"Our guess is somewhere through the different storm fronts yesterday we sustained some damage to this siren", Bernette said.

He says the next closest siren is about three miles away. That one went off, but the couple told Newsline 9 they didn't hear that one either.

"We have a lot of trees in the area so I think they baffle the noise and keep us from hearing them so we rely on this one," Swearingen said.

The Swearingen's said they're happy crews started working on the siren so quickly, and hope to be able to rely on the siren if another storm inches closer to their home. The fire chief said crews will continue working on the siren until it's fixed.

Online Reporter: Courtney Fasano

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