NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV) - In response to Tropical Storm Irma, the American Red Cross opened 5 shelters across North Carolina, including one in Dallas and one in Huntersville.
According to Red Cross volunteers, the Huntersville shelter served 25 people Sunday night. Volunteers said as hotels fill up, they expect to serve more evacuees throughout the week.
"We made the decision a little bit late because we have so many children in our family and some were sick," said Laura Gil, and Orlando Evacuee who left the city with her family of ten people.
Gil said her family packed up their belongings in Orlando and headed north around 1 a.m. Saturday.
They stayed one night in a South Carolina hotel.
"But the experience was horrible there because the hotel increased the rates extremely high," said Gil.
Gil said they continued to travel until around 3 p.m. Sunday when the family found the Red Cross Shelter in Huntersville.
"They are providing us not just stuff, not just a safe place to sleep it's more than that, people have been expressing love," said Gil.
Gil said she does not know what's happened to their home back in Orlando but said she has peace of mind because her family is together and safe.
The Gaston County Emergency Management Office will activate its Emergency Operation Center at 8 p.m. Monday. The Red Cross Shelter in Gaston County is located at 1303 Dallas Cherryville Highway at the Gaston County Citizens Resource Center.
"Companion pets are allowed; arrangements will be made at the shelter to house pets on the property," county officials say.
The public can call the county EOC at 704-866-6275 or 704-862-6281 for assistance.