Town sets curfew after Irma

LaBELLE, Florida — Janick Barrett said local law enforcement enacted a curfew Tuesday.

Barrett is staying with his family in a friend’s auto repair shop.

While Barrett doesn’t have specifics on looting, he said he heard gunshots Monday night. He was sitting at the shop and heard gunshots right after it turned dark out.

“I could tell it was gunshots,” he said. “The first set of rounds was from at least two different guns. I could tell because they were offsetting each other how they were shooting. Then there was a pause and five more clean shots from the same gun. He must have hit something because an ambulance went down Bryan Road shortly after two cop cars went down there.”

Barrett said he thinks the curfew will be in place at least until power is returned.

In addition to looting, Barrett said there was flooding yesterday.

“On Noble’s Road, not far from where we live, the water had risen to the bottom of the trailers and was about two and a half feet high,” he said. “There was a voluntary evacuation due to sheet flooding.”

Barrett said sheet flooding occurs when water is moving from a higher spot to a lower spot. When the water comes through, it raises all water levels temporarily before they all recede, he said. The water already was starting to recede Tuesday night, he said.

Barrett’s wife, Melissa, was at their home when the voluntary evacuation was issued and she got back to the shop safely, he said.

Janick said he got gas in LaBelle after grabbing gas cans to fill up.

“You definitely find out who your friends are and who your friends aren’t in times like these,” Janick said. “Especially when you give people gas and expect to get some back and then don’t.”

He said he gave three gas cans and filled an additional can up for a couple and he only got two cans back and one of them had the nozzle missing. They ended up pouring all the gas into their generators instead of giving any back to Janick and his family, he said.

After he got those two cans back, he grabbed all the cans he could find in the shop and got in line at a gas station. After two hours and 45 minutes, he was the next-to-last person to get gas at 7:15 p.m., he said. Gas still was $2.69 a gallon.

He said LaBelle’s Walmart was open temporarily Tuesday and plans to be open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. today. They were powered by a large generator and were open until the generator ran out of gas, he said.

Melissa said people were joking that they’re on “a hurricane diet” — they’re mostly buying junk food because they have no electricity.

“We’ve been substituting meat with dry beef jerky, pepperoni and Slim Jims,” Melissa said.

“Remember that episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ where they find that giant carton of pudding and just sit down and start eating it?” Janick asked. “That’s kind of how I feel like right now — people are just eating whatever they can find.

“It makes me feel like it’s ‘The Walking Dead’ every time we open and close the gate,” Melissa said. “We have to do that so people don’t come in and take stuff.”

Janick said people are desperate for gas and are running out of patience. Melissa said a lot of people aren’t getting cellphone service either.

“People are getting cranky like I thought they would,” Janick said. “It’s hard to get used to a new normal when you’re accustomed to something else. You either get used to it fast or get out of control.”

Janick said he’s fine with the curfew because he knows it’s meant to keep people from getting hurt. He said it’s not only supposed to protect against looting, but vehicle accidents as well.

“There’s no traffic signals working and people don’t know what to do at a four-way,” he said. “People are used to green lights in certain areas and it’s easy to see how some would blow through the lights and not be used to it.”

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