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False Alarm Wakes Fort Worth Residents Early Thursday

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - At a time when most people in North Texas are asleep, Fort Worth residents were rattled out of a deep slumber Thursday morning.   Just after 1:30 a.m., all 153 of the outdoor warnings sirens in in the city of Fort Worth suddenly went off.

Why? Officials can only say it was a malfunction.

The sirens are supposed to sound when there’s a tornado warning or when winds are sustained at over 60 miles per hour.

City reports show multiple sirens have malfunctioned over the years due to being hit by lightning, but this time the sirens went off simultaneously around the city of 760,000 residents.  The city and its contractor are trying to make sure it never happens again.

Fort Worth’s emergency management coordinator Juan Ortiz says it was an unprecedented system-wide malfunction, and the first time the city has ever seen (or heard) anything like it. “We take this situation very seriously because we want to make sure the outdoor warning system in Fort Worth is a reliable system.”

Ortiz says he does not think someone hacked into the system.  At this time it appears to have been caused by an electronic failure — something caused the command to be sent out to ring the sirens.

The system cost more than $3 million, and was put in place 11 years ago.  The city will either repair or replace any necessary components.

The National Weather Service sent out a note shortly after the sirens went off advising people that there was no hazardous weather in the Fort Worth area.

The NWS advises people can get text and email alerts for any warnings in their area.  People can sign up for them on the InteractiveNWS website.

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