County opens Coliseum as storm shelter for evacuees

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 9/7/17

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — As of 9 a.m. Friday morning, the Baldwin County Coliseum is open as a shelter for “refugees and evacuees of Hurricane Irma.”

The Baldwin County Commission approved the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

County opens Coliseum as storm shelter for evacuees

Volunteers from the American Red Cross sign in evacuees at the Baldwin County Coliseum on Sunday.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross sign in evacuees at the Baldwin County Coliseum on Sunday.
JOHN UNDERWOOD / STAFF PHOTO
Posted

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — As of 9 a.m. Friday morning, the Baldwin County Coliseum is open as a shelter for “refugees and evacuees of Hurricane Irma.”

The Baldwin County Commission approved the measure during an emergency meeting Thursday at the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency.

“Hotels are already filling up locally and in Mobile County and we felt like this was necessary to provide additional shelter for evacuees,” said Baldwin County Commission Chairman Chris Elliott.

The Commission voted to make the Baldwin County Coliseum available as a shelter beginning at 9 a.m. Friday morning and it will be available through Tuesday, Sept. 12.

The shelter would be staffed by Red Cross volunteers, said Baldwin County EMA Director Reggie Chitwood.

The Baldwin County Fairgrounds Arena could also be used to shelter pets, officials said.

County Commissioners said they would not be responsible for providing food and other necessary items for evacuees.

Previously, Baldwin County Coliseum and Fairgrounds Manager A.B. “Sonny” Hankins announced that he had reached out to FEMA officials and County Commissioners about the possibility of using the Coliseum to house evacuees from Hurricane Harvey.

When asked about specifically having to designate the use of the shelter for Irma evacuees to satisfy reporting to FEMA, Elliott said that since this is not technically a FEMA operation, there is no need to limit the use of the shelter to Hurricane Irma evacuees.

“This is something that we have never done before, but felt like it was the right thing to do to help out those in need,” Elliott said. “We will notify EOC officials in Florida and in Georgia that we will be available for a shelter if needed.”