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Key West Police ‘Shocked’ They Were Told To Leave Islands

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KENDALL (CBSMiami) — They packed up the car, the dog and their family and headed north.

Authorities in the Keys were told to evacuate the islands along with residents and visitors alike. In Kendall early Saturday morning, Key West Police were parked at the Snapper Creek Service Plaza helping others get gas and move along. But eventually they had to leave. They were told to.

CBS4’s David Sutta has been stationed in the Keys as Hurricane Irma loomed. He described one officer as “shellshocked.”

“The call came from the chief,” Sutta said, “to get in your car and take it out of the islands. Take it to the mainland. He told everyone to take their cars and leave Key West. That’s what they were asking them to do and he was in shock.”

As the officers left, Florida Highway Patrol stuck around to continue assistance. It’s the first plaza to get gas after leaving the Florida Keys.

“Looking at this officer, he is just shaken because he’s talking about everything he knows, he really feels like it’s gone,” said Sutta. “He just really came across as if that’s a fact, it’s gone.”

Others who pulled up to the station looking for fuel had a distraught look on their face. One of regret and worry.

Tony and Keith, both Key West residents, ran out of gas and were stuck at the plaza.

“We just left two and a half hours ago,” said Tony, who was chased out by police at a previous gas station trying to fill up some cans. “We were trying to put the gas cans in and they came up, probably a dozen of them, and really kind of rudely squawking at us that we had to go. And we’re like, ‘Well how do we go without gas?”

The pair said they had been consumed with helping others evacuate for the past four days.

“We’re a little frazzled,” Tony admitted. “We’re a little nervous because a lot of the people I wanted to help rescue chose to stay behind. And they opened the Key West High School for those people. La Concha is one of the safer buildings and it’s full to capacity. But we’re not certain that the Key West High School is even gonna save them. So we’re worried about the people we love who didn’t get out.”

They planned to stay, as well. But with Irma’s turn slightly west, and with Hurricane Jose following behind, they realized it was time to go.

“They changed the graphic on the tv and at that point it just said ‘Get Out Now.'”

More from David Sutta
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