Irma evacuees left Florida and stayed in Quincy - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Irma evacuees left Florida and stayed in Quincy

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Joe, his fiance Bernie and their neighbor Jackie sitting around a table Joe, his fiance Bernie and their neighbor Jackie sitting around a table
Joe and his fiance checking the weather Joe and his fiance checking the weather
The traffic out of Florida The traffic out of Florida
Joe playing with his dog Saddie Joe playing with his dog Saddie
The home they are staying at thanks to friends The home they are staying at thanks to friends
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

As Hurricane Irma made landfall Sunday, a Quincy native packed up and traveled back home with his fiance and next-door neighbor.

Joe O'Brien was one of the millions to evacuate Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. 

"Knowing that Irma was coming in, we decided that we were going to have to vacate," O'Brien said. "They were talking about evacuations, mandatory evacuations and such.

He and his fiance left their Fort Myers home with their dog and their neighbor Jacqueline James, who's 95 years old.

"She didn't have anywhere to go, so I said 'Hey you're not staying here," O'Brien said.

"It was a blessing that I went with him," James added. "He's my guardian angel."

O'Brien said just getting out of the state wasn't easy.

"The traffic was just horrendous," O'Brien said. "People were just everywhere and you just couldn't go anywhere. It was four or five miles an hour."

O'Brien lived in Quincy for most of his adult life, and now he is thankful for friends back here to give them a place to call home while they wait out the storm.

"We have friends here that just bought a new home and moved into their new home just last weekend and happened to have a house that was vacant, for sale, O'Brien said. "Being that the house was vacant, we had no place to sleep or anything and Sleep Tight was gracious enough to donate a couple of beds for us to sleep in."

O'Brien said waiting was the hardest part.

"Now we don't know if we are going to even have a home or not and that's very stressful." O'Brien said.
"We cleaned the house and we're ready to go back, but now we're hearing that its going to be under 9 feet of water," Bernadette Bartlett, O'Brien's fiance, said.

If Hurricane Irma destroys their home, O'Brien said he's not going back.

"it scared me. This is my first hurricane that I've ever experience and I think it's my last hurricane that I'll have to experience because it's a very scary situation," O'Brien said.

For their neighbor Jackie, she hopes to reunite with family in Michigan soon and wait to see what happened to her home.

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