image_pdfimage_print Elizabeth Hoffman

The town of Iberia is among a growing number of Missouri towns with a tornado safe room. But when community members went there to seek shelter from Monday night’s storms, the doors were locked.

When tornado sirens sounded in iberia Monday night, several community members went to the FEMA shelter to seek safety.

Cynthia Noll lives in iberia. Her home does not have a basement, “I went to the FEMA Building understanding that in times of need like a tornado we would be able to get into the FEMA Building at any time.”

Cynthia, along with several other community members went to the tornado safe room and punched in the community-known code on the keypad. It did not work and they were not able to get inside to safety.

Another resident needing to get in the shelter called 911 and about 20 minutes later the fire department unlocked the building, but Cynthia wasn’t willing to risk the wait.

“The sirens were going off we were there trying to figure out what else to do. Me and the kids left, and we went back home to take shelter,” she said.

Some residents did stay in the shelter once it was unlocked. The Iberia Police Department said the miscommunication will never happen again.

“I’m looking into it to see exactly where it went wrong by the time the alarm went off and to where the building was actually opened up. At the time the building was built, there was so many code holders to the key, so we’re looking into that now to maybe update communication for situations like this,” Police Chief Ronald Blouin said.

The shelter was partially paid for through a FEMA grant. Residents locked out of storm shelter during dangerous storms | KRCG