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South Florida evacuees seek refuge in Jacksonville homes

by: Lorena Incl\u00E1n, Action News Jax Updated:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida and hotels begin to fill up, many local families are opening up their homes to evacuees.

That includes members of the Action News Jax team, some of whom also have family members in evacuation zones all over the state.

Many of Lorena Inclán’s own family members live in the Miami area. Some of them arrived in Jacksonville on Friday. Jacksonville homes are turning into a safe haven for many people and pets looking for shelter.

“I know it's going to be three to four days, probably a week, without power and I have a 4-month-old,” Inclán's cousin David Ramirez said.

He evacuated from his home in Southern Miami-Dade County.

“What was supposed to be a 5-hour trip turned into like a 10-hour trip,” Ramirez said. “A lot of people sleeping in the rest areas. I saw a lot of that. A lot of accidents.”

After the long trip, Ramirez finally made it with his infant son, Luca; his wife; his in-laws, mother and brother; and three dogs.

“You can’t forget about the dogs,” Ramirez said.

Inflatable mattresses cover nearly every inch of floor space at Inclán's home and hurricane supplies stand close by.

It’s just one example of what many local homes look like, and this will be the norm for the next few days.

For those in need, such as Ramirez, a safe shelter is priceless.

“I think if you were able to get out, that was the right choice,” he said.