MIAMI – Jacki Dabel ended up at the Miccosukee Service Plaza off Alligator alley.
“I just kinda made a bed for us and put all my stuff in here,” she said while pointing to her car, with her dog inside. She’s getting away from her home on Pine Island on the west coast.
“I just decided last night, I was on Pine Island. I heard there was going to be huge surges and I decided better safe than sorry. I just drove to here basically and I’m kinda camping out at the gas station,” she said.
Jacki’s been watching video from back home. She’s glad she and her dog Bianca made it out before Ian arrived.
Now, she plans on staying here in the parking lot until it’s safe to go home. “I’m just going to sit here. It’s like they have gas here, food, a nice bathroom. It’s better than getting on the road and finding a gas station that’s closed,” she said.
And she’s not alone camping out here. Most of the cars in the parking lot have people inside.
“It started yesterday, we ended up having a nail in the tire, couldn’t get it fixed. Said ‘ Alright, we’ll rough this out.’ We boarded our house up. 3 a.m. this morning and I saw the report,” Thomas Pegg said. Pointing to his 9-year-old Pegg said, “he’s my son, gotta get him safe somewhere.”
Pegg said at 3 in the morning he decided to leave Punta Gorda after hearing Ian was getting stronger.
“Where’re you going to be hanging out today?” CBS 4’s Ted Scouten asked.
“Service Plaza on the alley,” he said. “It’s a parking area, rest area for truck drivers and travelers. It’s got a safe house building. The fire department is there, the sheriff’s department is there. They got an ambulance that’s parked there all the time,” he said.
Others like Gary and Emma Siebenaler from Cape Coral came to South Florida looking for a hotel room.
“I told my wife yesterday morning, ‘I don’t trust it’s going to Tampa, I’m so afraid it’s going to do what Charlie did. I think the best thing is to make ourselves safe,'” he said.