Floridians fleeing Irma find refuge in Las Vegas

Updated September 8, 2017 - 5:44 pm

As Hurricane Irma barreled toward Florida early Friday, exhausted Floridians shuffled into the McCarran International Airport baggage claim area, dragging their suitcases, children and pets along with them.

“I lived through Andrew, and I never want to go through something like that again,” Tammy Dorfman, a Miami native, said as she wrangled her three children and their grandparents. She was in the 11th grade when Hurricane Andrew tore through the state in 1992.

Dorfman and most of her family arrived in Las Vegas about 2:30 a.m. Friday after waiting four hours at Miami International Airport and three hours on the runway and then spending another five-and-a-half hours in the air.

“We were so desperate, we would have got on any flight to anywhere just to get out of there,” she said. Her children, unfazed by more than 12 hours of travel, were more excited than scared. One said he hoped the hurricane would “knock down” their school.

After arriving at the airport in Miami, Dorfman’s family was split up. Her husband ended up in Dallas, her parents in New Orleans.

Adrian Wilde arrived at McCarran an hour earlier with his wife, two children and their dog, Leela. He said they’re staying in Las Vegas for five days — at least. They boarded up their home in Fort Lauderdale and evacuated, but he said there are a lot of people staying to ride out the storm.

“There’s a mix of people who are not even aware of what’s coming and people who have already left,” he said.

Farah Abassi and her husband left at the last minute from Miami with their son and her service dog, Ivy. She said her husband, who owns a business, is working to get his employees on flights out of Florida as well.

Abassi said she saw hundreds of dogs at the Miami airport. “As many dogs as people.” She said many people in Miami already had left, but many others still were trying to leave, despite canceled flights and heavy traffic.

Ramiro Ramos came to Las Vegas alone from Hollywood Beach.

“Everyone’s safe and out of there. My family’s safe, so I thought I’d come back here,” he said. Ramos was in Las Vegas last week for a bachelor party. This time, he’s going to visit the Grand Canyon and Mount Charleston.

Most people said they only brought the clothes they’ll need for a week. Back home, they boarded up their houses or are hoping the impact glass on their windows will hold.

Ramos brought his laptop and his iPad. Dorfman brought some family photos and let her kids each pick one important item to bring with them.

“It’s an important lesson: Things are replaceable. People are not.”

Kimberly Estrada, 17, left Fort Myers to visit her boyfriend, who’s stationed in California. She said she was worried for her parents, who stayed behind and boarded up their house.

“I’m nervous I’m going to see everything flooded when I get back,” she said.

Dorfman said she was afraid she wouldn’t have a house to go back to after the hurricane passes. Abassi trusts the impact glass on her windows, but she is afraid the electricity will go out. Ramos is “ready for whatever,” he said, as long as his family is safe.

“I’m not worried,” Wilde said. “Scared? I would be scared if I was still there.”

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like