In a true show of the Florida Keys motto “One Human Family,” Marathon resident Chris McCarthy left the keys to an Oldsmobile inside it Friday for anyone who might not have a way out of the island chain.
“If anyone needs a vehicle to flee the Keys, there is a beat up Oldsmobile on 72nd Street. One of the first houses on the left, keys are in it. Take it and save yourself,” he wrote in the Facebook group “What’s Happening in Marathon.”
“I figured it was a no-brainer,” McCarthy said, adding that within an hour, someone had taken him up on the offer.
The car, a 1991 Cutlass Supreme “island beater” belonging to his girlfriend, was left behind as he drove a new van belonging to local cab company Native Taxi to safety in Georgia. But even if it were a Mercedes, McCarthy says he would have left it behind if it could help save someone’s life.
“This storm is absolutely terrifying,” he said.
From near and far, Keys locals have been turning to the online group for everything from updates, tips and information to the whereabouts of each other. Strangers have bonded, sharing photos of where they have evacuated to (or not) and encouraging each other to stay safe.
Latest updates show the Middle Keys could potentially be Hurricane Irma’s first choice for landfall in the U.S. Friday, it was a Category 4.
Others have been posting about a homeless man named Bill who spends most of his days under the same tree in Marathon. He told the Keynoter and others this week he had no intention of leaving.
“If you decide to stay in the Keys, you are on your own,” County Administrator Roman Gastesi said Thursday morning. “The hospitals are closing. Emergency managers, we’re leaving. There will be nobody around. There is no need to stay here.”
For live video of what’s happening at several different sites during the storm, visit www.fla-keys.com/webcams.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219