Oakfield village president: Tornado warning sirens saved lives

CREATED Mar. 2, 2012

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OAKFIELD- The city of Brookfield is considering not upgrading their tornado warning sirens in favor of a texting and calling plan.  

Oakfield village president Gary Collien joined Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure to talk about the role of tornado sirens when a tornado struck down near Oakfield about 15 years ago.

Collien was a fire chief at the time and had a strong memory of that day.  He said it was a hot, humid, sunny day.  Collien recalled there was a Severe Thunderstorm Watch that got upgraded to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning around 6:35 that evening. 

Collien said he had three people go out and spot for a tornado.  That crew saw a tornado touchdown about three miles west of Oakfield.  The message was relayed and the sirens went off about six minutes before the tornado entered the village.

Collien believes that warning, heard by people inside and outside of their homes, certainly saved lives.

Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto thinks tornado warning sirens are outdated in today's high-tech, cell phone world.

Brookfield Alderman Jerry Mellone talked to Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure about his vote against the tornado warning sirens.