December 11, 2019
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Looters in hurricane-ravaged Florida only scary part, former Mainer says

Courtesy of Stefanie Malvin
Courtesy of Stefanie Malvin
The aftermath of Hurricane Irma on South Beach, a tourist town located to the east of Miami.

Water kept seeping into the South Beach apartment where former Maine resident Stefanie Malvin was riding out Hurricane Irma, but she says she wasn’t afraid until looters arrived.

Malvin, who moved from Bangor to Florida in 2014, posted a video of damage caused by Irma, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

She said in an email that, “911 wasn’t working all yesterday/last night. People are still trying to come in to steal. But police are responding now.” In a 2:30 a.m. Monday Twitter post, Miami-Dade Police said they had made 28 arrests for burglary or looting.

Malvin said she feared looters would return Monday evening. South Beach residents are not supposed to return home until Tuesday, “so people are taking advantage of that,” she said.

She stayed home through the storm because she thought that would be safer than trying to evacuate or staying in a shelter with strangers. Marvin lives on the fourth floor, and the storm’s high winds knocked out windows and ripped off doors on the floors above her.

“I went to help a friend with an apartment during the worst of it. We couldn’t keep up with the water,” she said. “If you have a place facing the beach, you’re coming back to a mess. The hurricane was pretty intense. The waves were higher than I’ve ever seen.”

Meanwhile, boat captain Michael Quantrell, who is originally from Camden, rode out the storm with aboard his 65-foot yacht, Mrs. Lane, with his father, Tom. Both made it through without a scratch. Before Irma arrived, the boat was hauled out of the water at a dock in West Palm Beach. Father and son stayed inside.

“We’re okay. Not everyone else can say the same,” Quantrell said. “There is no damage what so ever to my boat.”

The father and son team, who spent part of Monday assisting others, were able to use their generator to watch football on Sunday.

“Looks like water [damage] won’t be a huge issue,” Quantrell he said in a brief e-mail. “Headed out with American humane tomorrow to help the pups.”

Peter Fortine, who moved to Sarasota from Lincoln just two months ago, said the storm was impressive.

“She was everything I imagined,” Fortine said. “Luckily, I live in a very well thought out neighborhood for these things.”

During the storm, the former Mainer spent his time “yes, outside” clearing storm drains to prevent flooding.

“Thankfully what flooding we had … never made It to the cars or condos,” Fortine said. “For now, [I’m heading] out to check around our local area to see if anyone will need anything.”


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