September 13th, 2008
12:01 AM ET

One holdout, riding the storm alone

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/13/art.ike.surfside.dog.jpg
caption="Dondi Fields holds her dog after police and firefighters helped them evacuate."]
Patrick Oppmann
CNN Field Producer

We were on Surfside Beach Thursday night for a live report for AC36O°. The island was deserted and other than the waves crashing against the seawall it was completely peaceful.

The next morning we returned and the island was under water. Many of the two thousand or so residents who live there built their homes on stilts to prevent flooding. I am not sure it will do much against the eighteen plus feet of storm surge that Ike is predicted to bring.

Police helped the last few holdouts evacuate. Some came on jetskis. Others wading with pets in arms. Police say one resident, a man, refused to leave and will ride out the storm in a flooded city with no power, alone.

Filed under: Hurricane Ike
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Linda Garrett

    My sister lives in Houma Louisiana, and she left for both of the latest hurricanes. Yet when she returned after Gustoff ( I don't think i spelled that right) her trailor was distroyed. Fema has given her rental assistant, which she is using to repair her home,but not motel assistant. Now she's sleeps in a tent in her yard, and had to leave that, to flee Ike not knowing where she's goig for lack of funds. My question is with the lost of her home, why are they not at least assisting her with some place to stay? She has a two young girls and a year old grandaughter, and they are all outside, not being able to afford shelter, at the present time.

    Thank you...

    September 13, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  2. Vanessa

    My mom always says... "There but for the grace of God go I". Most people in Texas feel that way. You are all right we got the news to evacuate in "mandatory counties" well people Houston Harris County was not mandatory. So we moved out of the way for our neighbors in the mandatory areas to leave, as well as, our sick and elderly and true some didn't leave but we are NOT going to DENY them help EVER. In TEXAS we will take care of our own and please note we are also tax payers and if you don't want these people to "take your tax money" the border doors swing both ways north and south. But be mindful of your comments when California has an earthquake, or the Midwest floods, or the Northeast has a blizzard because we will continue to be neighborly to you without judgment. It's human nature to think home is safe. Besides disasters bring out the worst in people so US TEXANS will FORGIVE you your ignorance for speaking before knowing if YOU will FORGIVE US for simply wanting to PROTECT the only thing that everyone holds sacred THEIR HOME!!! God Bless and thank you to those who have held us in your prayers!!! And thanks for the economic shout out Mat Davis!!!!

    September 13, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  3. Darrel Finley

    First I would like to say I am praying for all the people that are caught up in the devastation, but with that being said I am at a lost as to why the government does not charge to rescue these citizens that have refused to listen to the orders of there own government. I think if they have been given a mandatory evacuation order and you stay on your own, then if you need rescued then you pay, I am sure this costs me every time one of these bright intelligent people decide that they know more then the experts.

    September 13, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  4. shankar

    I have zero sympathy for the folks who got stuck despite being warned. They should be made to pay for rescue charges. These arrogant hotheads deserved what they got. The time could have been spent cleaning up instead of wasting my tax dollars.

    September 13, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  5. Matthew S. Davis

    Why should my taxes be going to the 10 billion dollar a month war. Its used better helping our own. And by the way- New Orleans is the largest port in the USA. Houston is the second largest. That may be why we depend on people living in these areas!

    September 13, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  6. Julie

    And why do people live in California with earthquakes and forest fires, or Alabama with tornadoes, Hawaii with volcanoes, blizzards in the north, Georgia with the drought, etc, etc. Folks there is no perfect place on the planet to live, natural disasters abound. You just have to do the best you can and adapt to your conditions.

    And yes, the people who left their dogs in the back yard should be hang drawn and quartered! And let's include the guy walking his dog on the seawall in Galveston and letting the giant waves engulf the little guy.

    September 13, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  7. Maria Berkeley

    You Go Jerry! I understand that there are some folks who are forced to live or build in less than desirable locations. But for God's sake, after you have been told to evacuate and offered assistance to do so, let's not have to pay huge amounts of money to "rescue" you when you don't have the good sense to leave. Maria

    September 13, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  8. barbara

    I can't believe these people!! Why should our police and rescuers risk their lives because people are stubborn, if they dont' evacuate, they should be left alone, other people shouldn't die because they do stupid things.

    September 13, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  9. Carolyn-Kansas City

    It amazes me that some people ignored the evacuation notice and then expects the First Responders to risk their lives to rescue them.

    At least think of your children, the elderly and your pets, get them to safety then if you want to ride out the storm do it at your own risk but don’t expect someone else to risk theirs to save you.

    I know it is tough to leave your home and belongings but use your head. What is more important your life or your possessions?

    I really am impressed with the media and their bravery. Stay Safe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 13, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Sheila

    Kudos to Christine. People, get over yourselves for passing judgement on others and their choices. You forget that we are all people, some less fortunate than others unfortunately. I have family in the New Orleans area, and it is unfortunate that they can't move to other places as Christine mentioned for those exact reasons, but when did we become so cold and heartless?
    I think the less fortunate are those of you whose hearts can't seem to muster up regret and empathy for those less fortunate than you. Let's also remember that for some, these omes that they have built and made memories in are precious to them and it's hard to let go sometimes, at any cost. Besides, what would you rather see our taxes go towards, saving a few lives of those who were trying to hold on to to desperate hope, or funding more wars which destroy hearts and families?
    Take a closer look at yourselves and remember we are all just a paycheck or so away from dispare in some way with the way the recession is hitting.
    I don't agree with the people who wanted to "ride it out," that's not my thing, but my prayers are with you and those who love you!
    God bless!
    *To the reporters: thank you for your fearless coverage and letting us see things up close.

    September 13, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  11. Jill

    I am appalled that people who have animals as pets would leave them behind to face certain death. I have a dog and two cats. If I were to evacuate I would take my animals with me, because they are a part of my family. Anyone who has a pet should consider them as a part of their family or they should not have them in the first place. I know that there are people out there who would take in pets to help out until more permanent arrangements could be made, myself included. Pets deserve a chance to live. More thought needs to go into protecting people and their pets.

    September 13, 2008 at 11:35 am |
  12. Michelle

    Kudos to Jason for speaking his mind openly, saying what many others are thinking but to battered by political correctness to say.

    When weather forecasters from agencies like NOAA tell you days in advance that this storm is coming and to get out...you GET OUT.

    Sorry, but the poverty/education argument is worthless drama. State and federal agencies provided evacuation transportation out of the area and set up safe lodging. The same agencies went door to door telling people to leave. You don't need any type of education to understand the words "get out", nor any type of financial means to get on a free buss and go stay at a free shelter and recieve free food.

    It sickens me that our nation's Red Cross, EMS, Firefighters, or Police now have to risk their lives while the effects IKE still rage on to get into these areas to save the idiots who refused to leave. If they are even there to save. They made their choice, they should have to deal with the consequences. I feel no pity for them and neither does my bank account... and that requires no getting over myself.

    Rebuild the refineries? Please. The oil refineries will get through. They shut down their systems and stored their materials in advance of Ike's arrival. Not saying we won't see an impact at the pump, we will, but the refineries also took measures to make sure their workers were safe.

    Thanks to CNN for all the good coverage. Keep it up!

    September 13, 2008 at 9:58 am |
  13. Heather White

    I think that those who were asked to follow a mandatory evacuation should have followed the orders. Why "hunker down" when you have transportation provided to you to a shelter...at no cost. Now, the rescuers will have to go out in flood waters and poor conditions to try and rescue those who did not follow mandatory orders...it makes no sense to me. As inhumane as this may sound, avoiding the rescue of those who ignore the law after one major storm may just curtail future residents from "riding it out" instead of following the law. At some point, people just need to come to their senses.

    September 13, 2008 at 9:43 am |
  14. Corine

    Thank you for this beautiful picture and for your report. Good job. Stay safe.

    September 13, 2008 at 8:30 am |
  15. Jim (Houston)

    I hope everyone who was or will be rescued after being ordered to evacuate will be charged for the rescue and fined for failing to comply to the evacuation order. Why should tax payers shoulder the burden?

    September 13, 2008 at 8:00 am |
  16. terry

    totally agree with Jason about the waste spent on people who refuse to help themselves while they put others lives at risk. there is nothing noble nor brave by staying behind to prove you can rough it out during a hurricane.

    September 13, 2008 at 5:55 am |
  17. christine

    To Jason in regards to your comments -

    "Let them stay if they want to. Get them to sign in blood that they resign their right to federal or state assistance from that point forward.

    I, for one, am sick to death of my tax dollars being spent over and over again to pull these people out of harms way. If you want to live on the ocean…choose a less flood prone or hurricane beaten location for goodness sakes. IF you CHOOSE to live in an area BELOW sea level…I do not feel compelled to bail your butt out."

    From a more prominent, educated person who has lived 'below sea level', most of these people who live there do not have the financial or educational means by which to live in other areas where real estate or living expenses are at a higher cost. Plus, their families are in the area and usually are their only means of support, both financially or emptionally. Perhaps you would have them "eat cake" when they run out of food during the hurricane too???

    Get over yourself and remember that these people are suffering and are tax payers just like you!

    September 13, 2008 at 3:01 am |
  18. K. Hollington, Calgary Alberta

    Living in Calgary with bad weather from the Rocky Mountains in Canada, it seems pretty damn cold most of the year, but a price we can pay with central heating.

    Best wishes and best of luck to those in the affected areas.

    The ocean is extremely powerful and unpredictable and unleashes vicious storms and destruction.

    Nor sure how people can live with that year after year. How do you know there is not a "500 year" hurricane or even a "thousand year" hurricane that no one has seen is the past 500 years or so that North America has been populated?

    I know that if people on the east or west coast of Canada kept getting pummeled we would ask why they live there.

    Again, best of luck of sympathies but living at or below sea level in a hurrucane region does defy logic.

    September 13, 2008 at 2:42 am |
  19. Alicia C. Williams

    Further: I agree, everyone should have a hand-crank radio. Solar would do zero good in this event, since it's coming ashore in the middle of the night.

    I should have been more clear: I want to know how to access CNN's coverage with a radio or cell phone. My local public radio station is excellent, and I will rely on it. I've turned to CNN during recent hurricanes, and it sucks that I can't do that when the storm is happening to me.

    September 13, 2008 at 2:36 am |
  20. Alicia C. Williams

    To Linda:

    Thank you, but I have one - hand-crank and all, purchased for Miss Rita's arrival. I'm looking for the a number on the dial to which I could turn to listen to the CNN coverage. Of course, I guess when the cable is out, you don't get any Cable News Network. 🙁

    September 13, 2008 at 2:32 am |
  21. Linda Bridgewater

    To Alicia:

    It is too late to make a purchase of a radio as part of your survival preparations for this hurricane, but as soon as possible purchase a radio which can be powered by solar or hand cranking. The radio should stay on for 30 minutes if you crank it enough. I keep a lantern as well as a hand held light which are manually powered. These items are not expensive and really come in handy during power outages.

    Stay safe.

    September 13, 2008 at 1:54 am |
  22. Corey, Oregon,WI

    Well, guess we see natural selection in action with the dumbest staying behind to "ride out" the storm. Good luck guy, you're going to need it

    September 13, 2008 at 1:04 am |
  23. Donna Davidson

    I saw a photo of two dogs left behind in a fenced yard.How on earth can anyone be so cold-hearted.My heart breaks for all the animals that are being left alone to die during this storm.

    September 13, 2008 at 12:59 am |
  24. Kathy, Big Bear CA/Port Arthur native

    I bet Jason would sing a different tune when he can't fill up his car with gasoline because they didn't rebuild the oil refineries and the homes for the people who work there under his scenario. What's happening in Port Arthur now. Does anybody know?

    September 13, 2008 at 12:49 am |
  25. Alicia C. Williams

    This might not be the appropriate forum for this question, but...I am in the suburbs just northwest of Houston and expect to lose power. Is there any way to keep up with the coverage via cell phone or radio? I should look for the answer myself, but I want to ask before everything goes dark

    September 13, 2008 at 12:46 am |
  26. Carlette

    I just love to watch CNN when ever there was a storm. Anderson Cooper has been the best through the years. As someone that just moved to Georgia from Florida CNN was the channel we watched to keep informed while away from home. So with that said..... Can we at least for one night forget about the politics. I just came back from the gas stations here in Dallas Ga and everyone is running out of gas. There was only high test left and a line of cars. That was at 12 midnight. Tonight is not the night for the politics. Please don't make me keep changing the station so I can see what is going on. You have no idea what it means to people that are far away from their homes watching TV to see if their homes are still their. I do know what it means because up until a year ago I lived in Florida for 12 years. Please no more politics tonight.

    September 13, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  27. Diane McKeel,WA

    Thank you for this photo, what love shown, so glad they are together, safely.

    September 13, 2008 at 12:32 am |
  28. Jason, Rochester Hills, MI

    Let them stay if they want to. Get them to sign in blood that they resign their right to federal or state assitance from that point forward.

    I, for one, am sick to death of my tax dollars being spent over and over again to pull these people out of harms way. If you want to live on the ocean...choose a less flood prone or hurricane beaten location for goodness sakes. IF you CHOOSE to live in an area BELOW sea level...I do not feel compelled to bail your butt out.

    This is ludicrous. Simply ludicrous. New Orleans is a magnet for disaster and the entire gulf coast region is riding on borrowed time.

    I want to opt out of paying for rebuilds there. Once is enough for each citizen. After that....you are on your own.

    Good Grief.

    September 13, 2008 at 12:32 am |
  29. Ty

    May all that are going to be affected by this storm be in God's hand.

    September 13, 2008 at 12:32 am |
  30. Amanda

    Staunchly riding out the storm alone, eh? How very Hemingway!

    September 13, 2008 at 12:30 am |