At Thursday morning’s debriefing meeting at the Barton County Courthouse, each Barton County department head reported on how their department handled Tuesday’s tornado and their responsibilities.
An EF2 – EF3 tornado formed southwest of Pawnee Rock just after 8 p.m. and traveled northeast on the ground before fizzling out west of Hoisington. One minor injury involving a tree branch was reported in rural Barton County and there are 10 houses completely destroyed.
Barton County 911 Director Dena Popp says her dispatchers received their first tornado-related call from a Pawnee Rock resident at 8:16 p.m. Tuesday.
Dena Popp Audio
Popp says there were nine staff members and dispatchers helping the night of the tornado at the 911 Communications Office. The office handled 250 phone calls between 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. with ingoing and outgoing calls for resources and 911 or administrative calls for assistance.
There were questions on the tornado sirens in Pawnee Rock and how they were triggered. Popp says the sirens are typically activated by 911, but that did not happen because the department was unaware a tornado was down before it was too late. The sirens did go off but they were triggered accidentally.
Dena Popp Audio
Barton County Appraiser Barb Esfeld toured the route of damaged properties Wednesday and an early estimate calculated $658,000 in real estate damages. This figure only includes the fair market value of the real estate and not vehicles, personal property, oil, crop damage, or utilities.