Residents Concerned Over Busted Warning Siren

City said it's weeks away from being replaced

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The siren along the 4900 block of Old Mansfield Road was knocked out of service back in early December. (Published Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014)

    Residents in a southeast Fort Worth neighborhood are worried that the broken warning siren in the area will keep them uninformed in the event of severe weather.

    The siren along the 4900 block of Old Mansfield Road was knocked out of service back in early December.
    Residents in the Rolling Hills neighborhood are concerned, especially since they could barely hear other nearby sirens in the area during Wednesday's regular testing.
    "We've got up over 5,000 people over here and we need the security of the emergency systems, so we need to get this fixed," said Marie Love, Glencrest Civic League president, which serves as the area's neighborhood association.
    It was broken the week of Dec. 15, 2013, after a vehicle is believed to have hit the siren pole. The pole remains intact, but the siren was jolted off the top leaving it inoperable and residents worried.
    "I'm very concerned that we won't be warned and their is an emergency," said Marianne Jones, who's on the board of directors for the Glencrest Civic League.
    Residents are especially worried after last week's severe weather in Denton County, where large hail damaged cars and buildings and a tornado warning was issued. Four tornadoes also touched down across parts of North Texas last Thursday.
    But the city's emergency management coordinator, Juan Ortiz, said the city is on top of it, but at the mercy of suppliers.
    "It takes about four to five months to replace a siren once it gets down," Ortiz said. "We are on track to do that and we'll be replacing those sirens here within the next four to five weeks."
    The delay in repairs comes from the manufacturer. The city is ordering just two outdoor warning sirens, and the order is not being filled as quickly as those for jurisdictions with larger bulk orders. And the city only had an extra pole available at the time of the crash, but none of the equipment.
    The wait isn't acceptable to the residents near Old Mansfield Road.
    Ortiz said this serves as an opportunity for residents to stay informed through other alert methods.
    "The outdoor warning system is just one component of all the different tools," Ortiz said. "And we look at it like a toolbox. And we have all these different tools to make sure that we can get the word out."
    The city would prefer for residents to use the Nixle system, which will text and email emergency alerts to your phone.
    "That's a great option, but for people who don't have access to it, it's not an option," Jones said.
    While you can register your home phone, Jones said many residents here don't have computers to do so. 
    Ortiz said volunteers will go door-to-door on Saturday in the neighborhood to hand out brochures about how residents can protect themselves in the event of severe weather while the siren remains inoperable.
    But residents believe the best way to protect the neighborhood is to replace the missing siren.
    "Our hope is to get it working as quickly as possible," Jones said.
    A second outdoor warning siren was knocked out of service on Jan. 6 and 7, according to a January news release from the Fort Worth Fire Department. That happened at Camelot Road near Sycamore School Road and Crowley Road. The impact of the crash was so strong the entire cement pole was knocked out of the ground. 
    Both wrecks involved hit-and-run crashes with the drivers failing to stop. Authorities do not know who was responsible for either crash, but are asking for anyone with information to come forward.
    Each siren and pole costs about $24,000 and as residents in Rolling Hills are finding out, they take months to replace.