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Arlington Mobile Home Manager: Many Did Not Heed Mayor’s Evacuation Orders

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Lindsey Kilbride
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WJCT News
Mobile home community manager James Kirwin was out checking on residents, fixing broken windows and helping remove down trees.

Despite Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s door-to-door evacuation warnings before Hurricane Irma, the manager of an Arlington mobile home community says most of the residents there didn’t evacuate.

James Kirwin manages mobile homes on Arlington’s Jackson Road. He was out Friday fixing broken windows and removing trees.

“Right now I got three trailers that have trees on top of them,” Kirwin said. “I got one off and we’re working on the other ones.”

Curry visited the neighborhood last week after ordering mandatory evacuations for certain areas as well as all mobile homes in the city. Friday, he told resident Randy Johnson to get to a shelter that night ahead of Irma’s expected approach Sunday.

“We’re here to tell you this is serious,” the mayor told Johnson before helping look up a nearby shelter that could take Johnson and his dog.

Kirwin said he also went door-to-door telling people to evacuate, but most did not heed his warning.

“I tell everybody every time we have a hurricane, do not ride it out in a trailer,” Kirwin said.

“A lot of people say, ‘well I don’t have any money, I don’t have nowhere to go.’ “

But Kirwin said he always reminds them, shelters are free.

Fortunately everyone was OK, he said. But after surviving Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, Kirwin thinks people will be even more likely to try to ride out future storms.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.