Two Macon shelters close as evacuees head home

Two Macon shelters close as people head home

Bibb County has closed two of its four shelters for evacuees.

The two open locations are the North Macon Recreation Center and the East Macon Recreation Center.

The Frank Johnson Community Center and the Rosa Jackson Center are no longer operating as shelters. People staying there left were relocated to one of Macon's open shelters.

Gabrielle Dawkins spent the day at the North Macon Recreation Center and spoke to someone who says they are stuck.

Pedro Ortiz says that police officers knocked on his trailer door back home and told him that it was not safe for him to be there.

He says that's when he packed up of his belongings and began heading north.

“I wish I can just go back right now. I can't. There's nothing there for me to go back to,” says Ortiz

Ortiz lives right outside of the Tampa area, and fled Hurricane Irma in its peak as a Category 5 hurricane.

“When I see the trees moving, and I see branches falling right next to my house already before I can even leave and it hasn't even touched Florida yet, that's what made me leave I have two kids, and my kids come before anything for me. I rather have them safe before me,” said Ortiz.

That's when the 23-year-old made a journey outside of the Sunshine State for the first time.

“I spent all the money I had to make it up to the shelter. The little bit of money that I brung was just for gas just to make it up here so we can hurry up and beat the hurricane,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz slept at the North Macon Recreation Center, one of the two open shelters in Macon.

Peter Teahen, spokesperson for the Red Cross, says that at its peak, as many as 500 people stayed in the four different shelters in Macon.

“Those shelter numbers have dropped because people have gone home. They have been able to get back to their residences and want to move on,” said Teahen. “Currently, we have two shelters with a total population of 120.”

There Ortiz got food, clothing, a hot shower, and much more. However, with all that included, he says it's nothing like your own comfort zone.

“I want to go home. I'm ready to go home,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz said that he found out a tree landed on his trailer back home. The next place he's heading is Omaha, Nebraska to reunite with his girlfriend, who's pregnant, and their two kids.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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