Emergency alert call ‘Code Red' accidentally sent to 65,000 phones

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An unusual middle-of-the-night call to thousands of area residents had many calling Channel 9 to find out if there was an emergency in progress.

John Butler is one of up to 65,000 Orange County residents awakened by a strange call overnight.

Butler said he was in too deep a sleep to understand it.

"I was sleeping and the telephone rang," said Butler. "I didn't remember any voice I can recall. [I was] still just trying to group myself together in a deep sleep."

But Barbara Burcham heard it all very clearly as she slept alone in her Orange County home.

"I picked it up and said, 'Hello,' and they said for the alert push one and there was one word that I couldn't understand and I was scared, so I hung it up.

Friday morning, Orange County Fire Rescue Department admitted to inadvertently sending out a red alert call to thousands of homes.

Red alerts can be for many things. All would be very important like wildfires, weather disasters or terrorist attacks.

"That's one thing I thought of right away then when I Googled it, I found out it could have been a terrorist attack," said Burcham.

Officials said they regret the inconvenience.

"Gosh, I hope it never happens again because it is a scary feeling," said Burcham.