RI resident travels to FL during Irma to help his friends

Tracking the Tropics

ESTERO, F.L. (WPRI) – While most people in the path of Hurricane Irma are looking for a way out, one Rhode Islander found himself traveling to Florida and right into the storm.

Lincoln firefighter Joesph Amaral traveled to Estero, Florida on Friday, just two days before Hurricane Irma was set to hit the sunshine state. Why did he decide to do this? He says he wanted to help his friends.

“In the back of my mind something could happen, but, I’m trying to stay positive,” Amaral told Eyewitness News Sunday. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been through something like this.”

Amaral described the scene in Estero, on the west coast of the state, as Irma passed through early Sunday.

“Wind swept rains, some flooding in the roads, but not as bad yet,” said Amaral. “They say the worst in this area is supposed to get here between 5 and 7 p.m.”

Just minutes into the conversation, Amaral’s friend’s home lost power. Amaral’s cell phone was still getting phone service.

“It was just the wind, so it had to be something in the area,” said Amaral of the power outage. Over two-million residents lost power in Florida Sunday.

Amaral plans to stay in Florida for a week after Hurricane Irma, to help his friend Tony DeMello while his wife, Gale, recovers from surgery in a rehabilitation center in Florida. He’s confident everyone will be safe.

“He’s got hurricane shutters so we should be okay.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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