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Evacuees mostly glad they sought shelter

Siblings, from left to right, Joseph Torres, 15,

Siblings, from left to right, Joseph Torres, 15, Stalin Cantos, 17, Mayra Cantos, 15, and Jocelyn Torres of Brentwood, play cards to pass the time at the Brentwood High School Red Cross evacuation center. (Aug. 27, 2011) Photo Credit: David Pokress

At about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, about  300 people who spent the evening at the Riverhead High School emergency shelter were given the OK to leave.

They filed out en masse, carrying the suitcases, pillows and, in some cases, the small children they’d brought with them.

Many were mandatorily evacuated from low-lying areas such as Flanders and manufactured-home parks in Riverhead. With Irene not having produced the damage anticipated, they worried mostly about the power being turned off.

Lucille Lutz had come from the Calverton Meadows manufactured home park and spent the night on a Red Cross cot. She was anxious to check on her cat, Lucky, she left behind.

But, she said, she was glad she'd sought shelter. “I didn't want to be there alone,” she said.

Eileen Borchart, 31, of Blue Point, was staying with her parents at the McCloud’s mobile home park when they were evacuated.

“It was hot,” she said of the high school gymnasium.

Still, she said town officials made the right decision in evacuating. “It’s better not to take chances because I have my 20-month old [Bella] with me.”

The ready-to-eat, self-heating Jambalaya was delicious, she said.

Gary Shaw, who’s in his 50s, was on vacation in Jamesport from Manhattan with his wife and three young children. The motel in which they were staying was evacuated.

They were headed back to Jamesport to finish their vacation but were unsure whether the motel would be open.

“I think it’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow, and I don't have to be back at work until after Labor Day,” he said. 

Photo: Teens pass the time at the Brentwood High School shelter during Tropical Storm Irene. (Aug. 27, 2011)


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