Macon Evacuees Begin Returning Home

Sep 12, 2017

Two of Macon's five Red Cross Shelters closed Tuesday. By the afternoon there were less than 400 people staying in them. Chelsea McKinley and her family have been in Macon nearly a week. She said their home in Homestead, Florida is in good shape but she's worried about people in the Keys where she grew up.

"I have a lot of friends in the Keys. I grew up there. My mom, she has an apartment there too. So, it's a lot of trees knocked down," she said. "There's actually a restaurant called Snappers and it's completely torn down from what I see on the news."

Before leaving town McKinley and her family picked up their two cats at Macon's special shelter designated for pets. She said she appreciated the people there for caring for them.

Sophia Ussery visited her cat and dog at the pet evacuation center. She's staying with her three kids at her grandmother's home in Jones County. The Georgia native lives on the marina in Bradenton, Florida now and said she won't return until it's safe. The southwest Florida city fared better than expected but power is still out for most residents.

Ussery said knowing her pets had a safe place to go made a difficult evacuation bearable. "The ability to know that my dog is safe and that I wasn't sentencing her to death by leaving her in Bradenton and having somewhere safe she would be well taken care of, absolutely warms my heart," she said.

Macon hosted an estimated 10,000 evacuees counting people in hotels, shelters and staying with friends.