Concerned phone call saves on Wisconsin family from tornado

Their trailer was completely flattened
Posted at 10:37 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 23:37:55-04

A Barron County tornado survivor says a phone call from his dad is the reason he, his fiancé and their unborn baby were still alive Wednesday.

Many in the Chetek, Wis. mobile home park hit with a tornado this week said they heard bad weather was on its way, but one man said he didn't take it seriously that a tornado was coming until it was almost too late.

"I kinda blew it off not knowing the severity of the situation," said Ronnie Bloomberg.

But his dad didn't.

"My dad called me and said, 'Ronnie, you gotta get outta there’," Bloomberg said.

He listened, grabbed his fiancé and headed away from the storm.

"If we would have stayed 10 more minutes we would have got hit," Bloomberg said.

Now the house they called home is gone.

"We didn't even find the welcome mat," Bloomberg said.

Their next door neighbor, Eric Gavin, 45, was found dead outside his home. His trailer was flattened. Gov. Scott Walker toured the destruction and offered condolences to the man's daughter.

One of their other neighbors was also seriously hurt. Roger Schneider's mother-in-law Joan Culver, 81, was airlifted to the hospital and is in critical condition.

"She got crushed under the stuff,"  Schneider said.

"We're just picking up what's left of her life. It's all destroyed," he also said.

Those who were able to walk away unhurt are grateful. 

"There were many tears. Me and my fiancé held each other close. We were very fortunate," said Bloomberg.

Walker declared a state of emergency for the counties hit the the tornado to help with the recovery effort.

It will likely be a week before families are allowed to live in this mobile home park again.

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