South Florida resident finds safe haven in Walmart parking lot

Published: Oct. 9, 2016 at 3:14 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
By: Erika Fernandez

October 9, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Evacuees from all over the state flocked to the Big Bend area to avoid Hurricane Matthew. A local Walmart parking lot has been filled with RV's and people seeking shelter.

Florida resident, Dean Prisco, says he knows what these storms can do to communities. He’s lived in Florida his whole life.

"The damage that we have seen already is pretty extreme but if it would have made landfall, we'd be having a whole different story so we really are blessed that it didn’t make landfall," Prisco says.

Priso says he didn’t want packed up his home when he realized the storm would be a threat to his hometown.

"I’ve seen that they can change on a dime and so being full time in an RV, I just knew that the potential threat was too dangerous, I didn’t want to be a sitting duck on a peninsula," Prisco says.

Many people without RV's used this lot as a rest stop as well after realizing there were no other options for a safe haven. Prisco says he saw people sleeping in their cars and on the ground because of the lack of open hotels in the area.

The south Florida native says many people made friends in this parking lot and were lending helping hands to one another. He says the outpouring support and camaraderie has been a joy to see in this time of need.

"Sometimes in these environments, is when the best comes out of people, unfortunately. Hopefully we can just do that all the time and maybe things could change," says Prisco.

For now, Prisco, his mother, and his dog are waiting out the storm before they return back to their beloved hometown.