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Several tornado sirens malfunction in Genesee County, one not reported in county report

Tornado sirens were on full blast Saturday afternoon across Genesee County, but people living...
Tornado sirens were on full blast Saturday afternoon across Genesee County, but people living in the Village of Gaines didn't hear them.(Christine Kanerva)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Tornado sirens were on full blast Saturday afternoon across Genesee County, but people living in the Village of Gaines didn’t hear them

ABC12 News has learned there were several malfunctions with the sirens.

Some, discovered by ABC12 reporter Christine Kanerva.

A map of sirens in Genesee County by the Emergency Management Office shows about five tornado sirens that malfunctioned over the weekend.

“All sirens, they’re mechanical, technological, so things do go wrong, just like anything else,” said Jeff Wilson, Genesee County Emergency Manager.

Sirens in Davison, Rankin, Clayton Township, where a tornado touched down, and Argentine.

Wilson said, according to his report, the siren in the Village of Gaines looked to be operational.

However, that’s not the case. People who live in the village said the siren never went off. “Nothing, no siren,” said Teresa White, who’s lived in the Village of Gaines for 25 years.

Even though the county was under a tornado warning and a tornado touched down Saturday in Clayton Township, White said she couldn’t hear the siren.

“I’m definitely concerned. I think it’s horrible. We depend on it. There’s many, especially of our elderly who don’t have a cellphone that’s going to alarm and say tornado warning and they might not have their TV running 24/7,” said White.

Wilson said according to his system, the siren came back operational, and that it’s up to the local municipality to check the status of the siren.

White said, “I’m not sure who should be checking them or who should be making sure that they work, but it’s quite obvious that we’ve lost that person and we need someone to step up.”

The Gaines Township fire chief said they’re looking into why the siren didn’t go off and why the county’s system didn’t detect it.

White said, “I think it needs to be fixed immediately. Our children are starting school on August 30th, we need to know that this is going into tornado time and I think the expectation is that our village and our children will be protected.”

The Gaines Township Fire Department said they have a company coming in this week to fix the siren.

ABC12 News will continue to follow this story on why the county’s system did not detect the malfunction as well as the status of the five other sirens that didn’t work properly.

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