The Dallas 911 system was jammed with calls from around 11:40 p.m. on Friday after a hacker managed to access the city’s emergency warning system. This caused all 156 emergency sirens in the city to blare until early Saturday morning. Dallas residents were understandably scared and confused, with many dialing 911.

Residents thought there was a 'bomb' or 'missile' emergency

According to a Dallas spokeswoman, Sana Syed, the sirens are aimed at alerting the public to emergencies or severe weather, but in this case were thought by many residents to be a warning of a “bomb” or a “missile.” Syed referred to the recent U.S.

airstrikes in Syria, saying she understands why the public was so concerned.

Dallas authorities, citing security concerns, would not give full detail on the nature of the hacking breach, but did say they believed it was of local origin. Syed said the Hacker would have to be in close proximity to the city’s signal to be able to pull this off. According to city Mayor Mike Rawlings, this hacking attack was evidence that it was time to upgrade Dallas’ technology infrastructure in order to safeguard the city. He posted on his official Facebook page that officials will be working to identify and prosecute those responsible.

The city had originally tweeted that there was a "malfunction" in the system:

The New York Times quoted Rocky Vaz, the director of Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management, as telling reporters that the alarms blared out for 90 seconds on around 15 occasions.

Vaz went on to say emergency technicians and workers first had to investigate whether there was, in fact, an actual ongoing emergency. It was reportedly a difficult task to turn the sirens off, which eventually led to officials shutting down the entire system. According to Syed, every time they thought they had turned the sirens off, they would start up again, as the hacker was “continually hacking” the system.

As reported by NBC News, on Saturday afternoon the emergency system was still down, and originally authorities said they would have it up and running by the end of the weekend. They had, reportedly, found the origin of the original security breach. According to Vaz, officials had spoken to experts in the field and they said this was a rare event.

However, Syed did send a message on Twitter late on Saturday to say the warning system was now operational. She added that the city is putting more safeguards in place.

Not the only recent problem with Dallas’ emergency system

This isn’t the first time Dallas has had problems with the city’s emergency system. As reported by Blasting News in March, a six-month-old baby died when the babysitter was unable to get through to an emergency operator. Calls from T-mobile phones had clogged the system with what was dubbed “ghost calls” and the emergency dispatch system was unable to handle all the incoming calls.

According to Syed, around 4,400 calls came into the 911 emergency system during the hacking attack Friday night, which she said was roughly double that of a normal night.