Family from Florida seeking shelter in Johnson City during Hurricane Irma


Heavy rains, extreme winds and flooded streets. Irma's impact being felt throughout Florida, including where Erika Fennen and her family live.

They were in Tennessee the last few weeks deciding if they wanted to move to the volunteer state from the Tampa Bay area.

Once Erika decided she didn't want to move, she couldn't get back home.

"I called my mom and I was like ok we're going to jump onto a Greyhound. She said no you're not, there's nothing coming in or out right now," Fennen said.

Stranded in an unfamiliar place, Erika and her family were running out of money.

"We literally spent our last bit of money on a hotel and food," she said.

That's when she found out about the American Red Cross shelter at University Parkway Baptist Church in Johnson City.

"It's stressful of course, but we're gratefu. We were stuck here so we don't know anybody here so we were stuck with really nothing or nobody to turn to," she said.

Providing the family with food, a place to sleep and even some fun for her kids.

"It's nice having friends here," 8-year-old Ezra said.

In a stressful situation, Erika said they're trying to make the best of it, including celebrating her 5-year-old son's birthday.

"I don't have an oven so I got him some Swiss Cake Rolls and went in the Dollar General and got him a couple little toys and made what it was," she said.

Erika said she wasn't sure how badly damaged her home is. She said she's hoping to get home in a couple days.

Red Cross workers said there's about 15 evacuees staying at the Johnson City shelter.

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