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Students take cover after Northeast State text alert system glitch

PHOTO: Samantha Zarek

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Northeast State Community College officials say a glitch in their alert system resulted in a false tornado warning.

"We had warning that there was a gas leak at the airport this morning, but our system apparently glitched in some way and sent out a tornado warning alert," says director of community relations at Northeast State Bob Carpenter.

After receiving the alert students and faculty went to designated tornado safe sports on campus.

"I texted my friend because I knew she was on campus and I was like, is everything okay? And she said no, we're in the library and they're moving us down to the bottom level because we're in a tornado warning and they had seen it touch down, and I was like, oh my gosh," says student Cierra Jackson.

When campus officials realized the mistake, they sent out a corrected alert.

"Almost like 10 minutes later, we got another text that said it's just a gas leak at the airport, and everything was under control," Jackson says.

Although it was a false alarm, officials say the campus went through proper procedures for a real tornado warning.

"Everybody responded promptly, it was actually a pretty good drill for us, and then everything was okay after that," Carpenter says.

Students have mixed reactions.

"I was pretty scared because I knew a lot of my friends were on campus and that scared me so I texted everybody that I knew was here and asked them if they were okay," Jackson says.

"When I received the text I wasn't phased by it much because I thought it was a drill or something going on...to be honest, it didn't scare me at all," says student Prince Buckman.

The gas leak proved to be minor and Northeast State reinforced with additional text alerts that the tornado warning was a false alarm.

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