Staying or going after mandatory evacuation? Park residents differ

Some mobile home residents plan to stay put even thought they've been told to leave.

ST. PETERSBURG — The Gateway Mobile Home Park is one of the areas under a mandatory evacuation in Pinellas County.

There are folks that have lived there for more than a decade ready to get out in the face of this storm, and some who've lived there just as long who say they're staying put.

“I'ma planning on staying here. I have to work tomorrow, I have to work Saturday,” said Roy Harper as he walked his 15-year-old dog, Yoshi. He said they are ready for Irma.

“I always keep myself supplied. I have portable radios, canned goods. I always keep a bunch of canned goods. So, I could hunker down for two or three weeks without having to leave,” Harper said.

Harper said he’s never seen the streets in his mobile home park flood more than two or three feet, but with this storm, rain is the least of your worries.

It's the wind that could cause the most problems.

That’s why Peter and Dawn Harris - who live just up the street - are getting the heck out of Dodge.

“What we're doing is going to a friend's house inland and we're making the first trip tonight that's going to have the water and the food - perishables and stuff that we can take,” said Peter Harris.

To their neighbors who are staying, they hope they reconsider.

“Wind and water. I think those are the two biggest killers for mobile homes,” Peter said.

“I don't want to be like Dorothy and wind up in Oz,” Dawn replied.

But there are those like Bonnie Schlicht.

“There's no place to go! I'm just going to sit it out in my house if I have to,” she said as she was driving off to buy storm supplies.

Shelters in Pinellas County open at noon Friday. The mandatory evacuation starts at 6 a.m.

For a full list of shelters, you can go to pinellascounty.org/emergency/shelters or call (727) 464-4333 for more information.

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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