While many students camped out in residence hall basements, others were caught uptown during the tornado warnings April 19. The Oxford Police Department (OPD) and Miami University Police Department (MUPD) sent out texts and email alerts telling residents to seek shelter until further notice, according to Miami sophomore Brooke Warren. Still many of Oxford’s businesses stayed open as the tornado sirens blared.
“We’re always open,” said Ned Stevenson, owner of Bagel and Deli. “If we say we’re going to be open until three, we’re open until three.”
Stevenson said the bagel shop is a relatively safe place to be, as it is enclosed in cement walls and has very few windows.
However, Bagel and Deli stopped delivering and ceased all outgoing deliveries as soon as the sirens started.
“(The tornado warning) killed our business,” Stevenson said. “We were doing really good until that happened.”
Warren was celebrating 90s Night at Brick Street Bar and Grill when the tornado warning sounded.
“They didn’t say anything about it,” Warren said. “The only people that knew anything were the kids that were getting the text alerts.”
According to Warren, many residents stayed at Brick Street through the storm.
Some uptown employees did take shelter. Three employees of Pita Pit went to the basement that they share with eight other businesses in the Masonic Building, according to Kathy Brown, a manager at Pita Pit.
Brown said when they hear the tornado siren, they verify with the city that it is an emergency before they seek shelter.
Brown also said if deliveries had been running, she would not have stopped them, but she would not have let any new deliveries leave.
Two employees of Bruno’s Pizza were down in the basement with those from Pita Pit.
“We follow the guidelines for the weather service,” Bruno’s owner Roger Perry said. “If they tell us to seek shelter, we seek shelter.”
He said it was easy for them to close up and take shelter because the Bruno’s building was not open at the time the tornado sirens started on April 19. The only thing Bruno’s employees had to do was take in the outdoor table and head down to the basement.
According to the City of Oxford website, Oxford follows the safety precautions laid out by the Red Cross.
If a tornado warning is issued, you should seek shelter from glass and flying objects. If you are outside, you should hurry inside or lie flat in a ditch or a low-lying area.