Lafayette tornado sirens inadvertently activated around 3:07 a.m. Thursday

Dispatch says appears to be software glitch

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - What a way to wake up.

After an evening full of actual tornado reports, residents in Lafayette heard the sound of tornado warning sirens at 3:07 a.m. Thursday morning. There was no tornado and Boulder County says the siren, which lasted for about 8 minutes, was inadvertent.

The County Communications Center, which dispatches for the city of Lafayette aid, "At this point everything is leaning toward a software error."

"We had a police operation going on with another law enforcement agency we dispatch for. During paging out some of their personnel, our Lafayette sirens inadvertently were activated," Division Chief Robert Sullenberger said. "Five minutes or so later we determined they had accidentally gone off and we canceled them."

Sullenberger explained the Lafayette sirens are activated through their Computer-Aided dispatch system, which is also how they dispatch 911 calls for the five cities Boulder County services. From that software, the signal is sent to each siren in Lafayette, and they are activated. 

"Somehow, something going we believe in the background got mistranslated and some sirens went off."

There are seven sirens in Lafayette; it is unclear if all the sirens were triggered. 7NEWS Reporter Lindsey Sablan talked to several people in the city, and about half said they heard it.

"I woke up to the sirens. I’d been hearing the thunder before and I thought I should probably at least check it out, but it was totally calm and quiet. So I just got online to try and figure out what was going on," said Laura McGladrey. "My neighbor said that she woke up and got the kids up and was ready to head to the basement, to the storm shelter."

McGladrey's coworker also heard the sirens.

"I think my wife woke up first, she woke me up, saying what’s going on...So I ran outside, looked around, it looked perfectly quiet...Called dispatch to see if they had any news on this. They said we don’t really know what’s going on there but we’re working on it," said Jon Nienhouse "Then I was going to make up some really funny story and go back in and see my wife and say oh my gosh there’s UFO coming down...I thought that’d freak her out too much."

There are more than 30 sirens in Boulder County. Lafayette's sirens are the only ones triggered through the Computer-Aided Dispatch system because they are older.

7NEWS contacted the software company TriTech. As of this story being published, we had not received a response.

 

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