Diehlstadt woman mobilizes for emergency siren

DIEHLSTADT, MO (KFVS) - After a tornado killed three people in Diehlstadt Monday night, one woman in town wants to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"It sounded like a jet, it sounded like a jet plane crashing," said David Westmorlan.

"The wind, it got very dark, the house was creaky," said Annette Tolbert.

"We started to hear the roar, and in this area over here we started to see trees fall, so we immediately slammed the garage door and took cover inside," said Westmorlan.

When the tornado hit Diehlstadt Monday night, the only warning sounds were wind and rain.

"It would be great to know a tornado is coming before it's on top of us," said Tolbert.

"Weather radio went off, severe thunderstorm warning, but suddenly there was a tornado on top of us," said Westmorlan.

Because of the surprise storm to the town, Cindy Groves is working to get an emergency siren for Diehlstadt.

"I'm on this, I'm going to be on this until it gets done," said Groves.

Groves owns CJ's Bar and Grill in Diehlstadt. The building is located right next door to where the mobile home used to be before the storm picked it up, killing three men. Groves said she thinks it's important for people to know when a future storm is headed their way.

"I want it to be when they say take cover give people time to take cover, not say you've got a tornado heading your way at 50 miles per hour, it's too late," said Tolbert.

"Anyone I've talked to so far, they had no idea this was coming," said Westmorlan.

People in Diehlstadt, like Westmorlan and Tolbert agree with the push for a siren.

"I truly believe that we need something, 'cause I know we really had no clue, that that was going to happen," said Westmorlan.

"A lot of people don't have cover to take, but at least they would know to get somewhere," said Tolbert.

Groves said she plans to told a benefit with music, food, and an auction to raise the money.

"It's what I'm going to do, I can and I'm going to, it may take a couple benefits but I'll do what I have to do," said Groves.

Mike O'Connell, the Communications Director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said the typical siren ranges from $20,000 to $30,000.

"All the community, all kinds of people wanting to help already, they're stopping me on the roads wanting to know where can they give a donation," said Groves.

"It would really help the community if we had some kind of warning system," said Westmorlan.

"I'm going to do this, there's not I'm going to try, I'm going to do this," said Groves.

O'Connell wanted to remind people emergency sirens are only meant to warn people who are outside. He said they are not meant to reach people indoors.

If you want to help with the benefit by donating to the auction, or help in another way, call CJ's Bar and Grill at 573-683-2405

You can visit the Missouri Department of Public Safety's new Storm Aware website here.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.