Local News

Shelters Fill Up From Wilson County To Franklin County

Posted September 18, 2003 10:53 a.m. EDT

— As

Hurricane Isabel

moved across North Carolina on Thursday, hundreds of people headed to Red Cross shelters.

In Wilson County, Red Cross volunteers could not check people in fast enough. The worse the weather got outside, The more crowded the shelter got inside.

Larry Chance brought his wife, daughters and granddaughter to the Wilson County shelter from Hyde County. The family did not want to risk staying in their mobile home.

"Better safe than sorry," Chance said as his family hunkered down with several hundred other people at Fike High School. The Red Cross provided cots, meals and a sturdy building.

The Fike gymnasium had room for about 500 people. When that filled up, another shelter was set up across town at Hunt High School.

In all, 122 shelters were up and running across the state Thursday. Three shelters were open in Franklin County, where downed trees and power lines blocked several roads.

It did not take long for people to arrive at the Franklin County shelters, even though one shelter in Louisburg operated with only limited lighting.

Jesse Wood brought his family with him.

"We were glad we had some place to come to, you know," Wood said.

Wood sought shelter because he lives in a mobile home and didn't want to spend the storm there.

"I was scared," he said.

Cindy Tharrington was working at the Louisburg shelter. She said that, despite the lack of lights, everything else was running well.

"We opened earlier than we had anticipated opening," Tharrington said, "and we have been very organized since then. A little hectic at times, but it has been running failry smoothly."

More than 100 people were camping out in the Louisburg shelter, which reached capacity in about an hour.

A few miles from the shelter, it was clear the wind was whipping up and causing damage around the county. Along Highway 56 between Louisburg and Franklinton, firefighters and deputies worked to keep the roads clear of falling trees. Franklin County Emergency Management said eight roads were closed at one point in the county due to downed power lines or trees.