RI natives traveled 550 miles to escape Irma’s wrath in Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WPRI) – Millions are still without power as the state of Florida assesses the damage and begins to clean up.

Eyewitness News reporter Julianne Lima on Tuesday caught up with her grandfather Daniel Garr who was born and raised in Providence.

Last Thursday, Garr and his wife Jane traveled from Vero Beach to Jacksonville.

Twenty-four hours later they were evacuated again and this time, they drove to Pensacola. Garr said they’ve been stuck there for days and are worried about what they’ll find when they finally make it home.

The couple is far away from Vero Beach, 550 miles to be exact, but even in Pensacola they’re feeling the remnants of the storm.

“Even here, which is in the panhandle and it’s safe, it’s been very windy,” Garr said.

They’ve been running from Irma since last week. A three-hour drive to Jacksonville took six hours and a five-hour drive to Pensacola took ten, according to Garr.

“The minute we left Jacksonville, I’m told there was flooding around the hotel which we had just left,” he added. “Traffic was bumper-to-bumper, slow, very. I sat in the backseat with our little doggie Noelle.”

Noelle sat at the breakfast table with the Garrs Tuesday morning. The hotel previously didn’t allow dogs but opened up its doors to man’s best friend as Irma bore down.

“It’s really quite interesting here,” Garr said. “They said we’ve had no problems with the dogs, they’ve all been great.”

The Garrs received some bad news shortly before they spoke to Eyewitness News. Their generator, purchased for emergencies like Irma, wasn’t functioning.

“I hope there isn’t mold, mildew and everything in the freezer melted and all over the floor in the kitchen and all over the garage,” Garr said.

Despite the cleanup they’ll face at home, the Garrs are grateful it wasn’t worse for them.

“We were lucky we didn’t lose our house, we didn’t lose a life, so we are lucky,” Garr said.

The Garrs plan to brave the traffic and hopefully start heading home on Wednesday.