GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Green Bay police and firefighters responded to a gas leak call on the 500 block of Edgewood Drive on Tuesday evening.
"Really, it's just [a] small smell or you notice the odor... get out, call 911, evacuate," Green Bay Metro Fire Department Lt. Shauna Walesh said.
That's part of the reason why this message was sent out to nearby residents.
"We drew a very specific map in our IPAWS system which… forces alerts to mobile devices based on tower technology," Brown County Emergency Management Director Lauri Maki said.
Maki says the cellphone alert was intended for under 20 homes. But it was sent to people who live miles away in Outagamie and Oconto County.
"Due to aging tower technology, older cellphones, different parameters by different providers… last night it was a very small area and the overspray went all over the place," he said.
Maki says the message was cancelled within minutes to avoid confusion, because the 911 center was getting flooded with phone calls.
"There are growing pains that the system is going through," he said. "And although it wasn't an ideal outcome for us, it's good information that we can take back to the State of Wisconsin Emergency Management."
"The issue with the alert, more is better in that scenario," Green Bay Police Commander of Operations Kevin Warych said. "And we'll deal with people who live ten miles away knowing that alert."
Warych says his department wanted to keep people informed.
"If your mother lives on that street and has this who knows nothing, it can be very hard and very troubling because that's very traumatic," he said.
Brown County Emergency Management will also be working with FEMA, which created the messaging service, and cellphone providers to fix the issue.
"Us going through that experience and similar experiences will do nothing but help us in the long run," Maki said.