VIDEO: Firefighter sounds tornado siren by hand as storm hits

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 10:55 AM CST
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RUDD, Iowa (KIMT) - A volunteer firefighter is being recognized for going above and beyond on Wednesday.

Tyler Hicks braved severe weather to keep the town’s tornado siren going as a devastating storm hit.

“You can hear, when the siren started shutting off, that’s when it had ripped out of my hand,” he said.

As heavy winds and rain were bearing down Wednesday night, Hicks answered the call when asked to sound the town’s tornado siren by hand.

“I just kept holding the button, and then the next thing you know, it’s raining sideways, all that kind of stuff, and I’m still holding the button. It really wasn’t too bad with all the gear on, and next thing you know, there’s no button there anymore to pull down,” he said.

Tyler Hicks, a volunteer firefighter in Rudd, Iowa, said he held down the button to sound the...
Tyler Hicks, a volunteer firefighter in Rudd, Iowa, said he held down the button to sound the tornado siren as long as he could on Wednesday.(Source: KIMT/CNN)

The intense moments Hicks weathered to warn his neighbors of the impending tornado was captured on video.

“I was mainly just thinking, you know, ‘I don’t want anybody to get hurt,’ you know, just, I signed up to do this, and that was my job that night. I could hear, as I was holding the siren, the tin being ripped off of some buildings, and I actually heard some wood being splintered and stuff,” he said. “And it actually, that ended up actually being the pole.”

That’s when Hicks took cover in his fire truck.

When conditions started to subside and he could see through his window, Hicks noticed something was missing.

“‘Oh, there’s no pole or button there anymore to hold on to.’ We were going around doing a damage assessment and making sure there were no injuries or casualties, which there weren’t, everybody’s OK, and I found the telephone pole that held it about a couple blocks away,” he said.

Hicks said he’ll never forget that harrowing night, which saw so much damage to the town he signed up to serve.

While the road to recovery is anything but clear for Rudd, Hicks said he’s feeling thankful.

“I’m really just glad that nobody got hurt. And I’ll tell you something, it’s really awesome to see everybody come together and help out a small town like this,” he said. “It’s so appreciated, all the volunteer help, and all the donations, it’s just unreal. Like, I can’t thank people enough.”

The Rudd Public Library was destroyed in the tornado. There’s a Gofundme page to help the library rebuild.

Copyright 2021 KIMT via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.