Florida evacuees find refuge in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - Nearly a third of Florida residents were told to leave the state as Irma encroached on the area over the weekend. Some of those evacuees made their way to Baton Rouge for safety.
"We caulked windows, did everything we had to do, moved cars to higher ground, met at one location, and we started driving," said Kim Bauer, an evacuee from Tampa Bay.
Her family left home in Tampa Saturday morning.
"It was really when we saw that it had shifted west and would hit us directly that we had to get out," said Andrew Bauer, one of Kim's sons said.
As the Bauer's wait to return home, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is responding. Now it's looking to hire more helping hands to the call center in Bossier City.
"They're going to have 500 full and part-time jobs, and we're very happy this is happening," said Jack Heesch, a FEMA spokesperson. "For one thing, with what just happened in Irma, we just got a declaration this morning for the state of Florida."
FEMA is also rolling mobile housing units out of the storage lot on North Sherwood.
So far, 1,400 MHUs have been re-purposed since the August flood and more headed to Texas and Florida.
"Those that can be are being re-furbished and it's our intention to move those to places where they're going to be needed as quickly as we can," Heesch said.
The Bauer's hope they don't need an MHU. The family is doing their best to make their stay enjoyable, but can't help anxiously anticipating their return home.
"We've never evacuated, so it was a really difficult decision," Kim said. "Because part of you wants to stay home where you're comfortable and with what you know. But the other part of you knows a house is just a house, and getting out was important."
The bridge to their home opened up Monday afternoon, and they now await word from friends to find out if their house is okay.
If you would like to apply for FEMA jobs, the listings can be found here.