Adairsville sirens under scrutiny after tornado

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

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ADAIRSVILLE, Ga. - Minutes before a tornado struck Adairsville, residents called 911 to report that the tornado warning sirens were not sounding.  

It is not clear if the tornado sirens in Adairsville ever went off in the moments leading up to the tornado touching ground in Bartow County in January.

One 911 transcript goes as follows:

Caller: “I live in Adairsville, and I am trying to figure out why the tornado warnings aren’t going off.”

Dispatch: “We did set them off a few minutes ago. Did it not go off in Adairsville?

Caller: “They did not.”

Minutes after that phone call in late January, a tornado tore a path of destruction through Adairsville.  The EF-3 tornado left one person dead, and damaged hundreds of homes.   A month later, volunteers are still working hard to rebuild and remove all of the debris.

Ashley White lives within feet of a tornado siren. She was outside playing with her children.

“These sirens right here did not go off,” White told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.

On Thursday, crews were checking the tornado sirens throughout Bartow County.  Tornado siren maintenance worker David Steadham even showed Channel 2 Action News a checklist in which the Adairsville tornado sirens passed all tests.

“The sirens up in Adairsville, they all seem to be working. I mean, we set them off, they were working when we were out there. That’s all I can tell you,” Steadham said.

A representative with Bartow County Emergency management said they’ve gotten mixed reports about the Adairsville sirens.  At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer on whether they sounded.  Sirens in other parts of Bartow County did work, according to the 911 calls.

“(It’s) very concerning, because we were outside before it hit,” said White.

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