No sirens sounded in Valley View before tornado hit, killing 7 and injuring over 100

Cooke County was placed under a tornado warning about 20 to 25 minutes before a twister crossed the county line, Cooke County Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Fletcher said Sunday evening.

But the tornado sirens in Valley View — where seven people were killed and more than 100 injured — were not working in the small town Saturday night.

Categorized as a high EF-2 by the National Weather Service, it moved across the area from Valley View to Sanger destroying homes and other structures in its path.

Fletcher said at the news conference that another warning was issued when the tornado reached Cooke County.

But in Valley View, 55 miles north of Fort Worth along Interstate 35, residents told the Star-Telegram that the sirens didn’t sound. And the city fire department said in a Facebook post at 10:24 p.m. Saturday that the sirens weren’t working and people should take cover.

Residents in Valley View — and its outskirts where the damage was concentrated — said they did not hear sirens, but got notifications about the tornado on their phones.

Randy Lane’s home about four miles south of town still stood on Sunday, though not without significant damage to the walls and roof. The same could not be said for several houses near his.

Lane said he heard about the tornado warning from an alert on his phone. Then he went outside to listen. But he did not hear any sirens.

“The siren was down in Valley View and that’s why we were standing outside, because usually I hear the Valley View siren,” he said, and mentioned another one about the same distance to the south. “I can usually hear it because I’m running between both of them four miles away. I couldn’t hear neither one of them.”

Still, he didn’t like what he heard even without sirens, so he and his family took cover in a central bathroom in the house and rode out the storm.

“I was listening to the wind, and it was so humid, and I knew — that’s bad,” he said.

Much closer to town, Judy Hinze was working at a gas station at the southern edge of town. She did not hear sirens either. She was able to close the station and get home safely once she learned of the warning through her phone.