Watertown residents wait out tense moments of possible ballistic missile


Watertown residents wait out tense moments of possible ballistic missile

Laura J. Oakes was just about to sit down to a cup of coffee in her Hawaiian apartment on Saturday morning when she received an emergency alert notification on her smart phone claiming a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii.”Understandably, — like everyone else would — she panicked. For about 30 minutes, the 58-year-old Watertown resident thought a nuclear bomb from Korea was going to hit. The 8:08 a.m. alert by the Hawaii Office of Emergency Management instructed residents to seek a fallout shelter and that it was not a drill.“I totally freaked,” she said on Saturday evening. “I said, ‘oh, my God. Oh, my God.’ I was sort of hysterical.”There was no ballistic missile. Human error caused the alert. For 38 minutes, she thought the worst. Until the state’s emergency management office tweeted, “No missile threat to Hawaii.”She and her husband, Raymond D., 59, are living in Wahaiwa, Hawaii, while he is temporarily assigned to Wheeler Army Airfield as a logistic management specialist for the U.S. government. They still have a home in Watertown, where they’ve lived since 1999.Not knowing the location for a fallout shelter, the couple headed for a 4-foot by 8-foot room in the middle of their apartment that had no windows. Mrs. Oakes didn’t know what else to do.At first, her husband tried to convince her it was just a test and no missile was on its way. Finally, he agreed to join her in the room, where they sat on two chairs until it was safe, she said. Their television remained on to see what they could find out.“It was scary,” she said. “I was scared. My husband was scared.”Mrs. Oakes, who worked as a webmaster for Samaritan Medical Center, got a text ready to send out to their three daughters — just in case the worst were to happen. She decided against sending it until they knew what was happening.A state lawmaker finally appeared on TV to confirm it was a mistake. She acknowledged that she remained a nervous wreck, she said.To calm herself down, Mrs. Oakes called her daughter, Eloise, in Albany just to hear her voice. It helped.Mr. Oakes returned from Afghanistan in November, where, on occasion, alerts went out that the post was going to be hit by a bomb, so he was a little more used to experiencing such tense moments.“He was cool as a cucumber,” she said.After it was all over, the couple decided they needed to get away for the day. They headed to the north shore to photograph 50-foot-tall waves.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Watertown residents wait out tense moments of possible ballistic missile

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