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Senator Tour Hard-Hit Florida Keys; Widespread Flooding And Damage As Irma Moves Inland; Rescues In Devastated Caribbean. Aired 11-Midnight ET
Aired September 11, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:08] This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: It is the top of the hour. Here is our breaking news. Irma continues its deadly path tonight. The storm pushing north after slamming its way across Florida. This is CNN tonight, I am Don Lemon. The devastation in Florida becoming clear today from the Keys up through the state all the way through Jacksonville inundated by record storm surge today. At least 7.7 million people without power throughout the region. The White House warning it could take weeks for power to be restored to everyone. Storm related deaths today in Georgia and South Carolina. And in the Caribbean, desperate survivors of the storms pleading for a help tonight. I'm going to talk to some of the Americans who barely escaped with their lives. Let us go straight to Rosa Flores, you got a bird's eye view of the devastation in the Florida Keys today, flying with two Senators, and she joins me now. You got a chance to see that incredible damage in the Keys on board a C-130 with Senator Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, tell us about it.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know as soon as we got up in the air, we started getting closer to the Keys, the first sign of devastation is the murky water. We're used to seeing crystal clear water. That is no more at this time. And then, Don, as we get closer to the 7 mile bridge, you start seeing mobile homes that looked like they've been tossed around, boats on lawns, trees that have been smacked, and palm trees that have been smacked. Now once we landed at the air naval station on Key West, it became very clear on the ground there were a lot of trees down, power lines downs, yacht that were submerged in the water, homes that were submerged in the water. So you really start to see the devastation. And there's a really eerie feeling, too, because there's no one there.
As we were touring around, we didn't see anybody. Now, we were touring the area that the federal government runs there because these were two Senators that were going to take a look not just at the destruction from the air but also at the federal facilities, how these facilities were going to be impacted by Irma, and what it's going to take to bring them back, to bring those resources back. Both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast guard. Now, the homes of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coastguard faired fairly well because the construction is newer. The construction is built to a certain code. But, you know, we saw other homes that didn't fare as well, Don. There's a lot of work ahead. Because there's needs to be assessment. There's no water, no sewage, no cell tower.
LEMON: And some roads are blocked by debris. There's a clip of Senator Nelson talking about how proud of he is of Florida. I want you to listen and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: I'm proud of Floridians because they really came together just like that University we flew over. They found 12 senior citizens abandoned in a nursing home. And the students took them into the dormitory to take care of them. They took 215 more people from that little town, had no place to go in the middle of the eye coming right here, and gave them a shelter. That is people taking care of people. And I'm proud of what Floridians did.
FLORES: One quick question. Do you think that $15 billion is going to be enough given that there's Harvey and Irma?
NELSON: No, $15 billion is only going to last us a few weeks. Middle of October we'll have to do another emergency supplemental preparations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I'm sure every little bit helps, but they're going to need lots of resources. And there are some people there doing some great work. But it's going to take time and a whole lot of money.
FLORES: You know, it really is, Don. If you think of not just the homes but the small businesses. You think of all the small businesses when you go to Key West, the restaurants, the places that sell all the trinkets, there's a lot of devastation there. And when you talk about those $15 billion, you also have to talk about Harvey because hurricane Harvey was devastating as well. I mean 51 inches of water in Houston, raging waters. They're still trying to figure out what to do with their homes. So when you think of these two monumental disasters happening in the same year were you think of $15 billion, it doesn't sound like much.
[23:05:01] LEMON: Yeah, especially in a place that is been inundated by two major storms. Thank you very much Rosa Flores, I appreciate that, great work. Now I want to go to ACCU weather storm chaser Reed Timmer. He joins us now via Skype from Orlando, Reed so good to see you, listen we've been looking at videos you shot earlier today in Florida. Our viewers are seeing this damage on TV, but you saw it up close. Take us through it.
REED TIMMER, STORM CHASER, ACCU WEATHER: Yeah, this was in Key West, the lower Florida Keys. Had wind gusts about 120 miles an hour. You can see the storm surge, water four to five feet deep across both of the aisle Key West (INAUDIBLE) all kinds of debris on the roadway. We also spoke to a survivor that road out the storm in a -- and then when the back eye wall came in off the Atlantic ocean wind gusts around 150 miles an hour, he said it instantly lifted his roof off. He went into a back room in his bathroom to hang on tight. And he said it felt like it was going to fall over. But he made it through. He saw a wall of water coming in. It was just absolutely disastrous.
LEMON: I can only imagine. I imagine next time he will leave. This is from (inaudible) who one of our frequent contributors here was on CNN, her family has a home in Marathon and she said the middle and lower Keys devastated not Key West. She said the Keys are 120 miles long, people have no idea, and there are other places in between Key West and Key Largo, Summerland, Big Pine, Marathon, direct hit. Worst damage. Talk to me about that. Is she right?
TIMMER: Yeah, it's definitely the worst damage. At the airport I heard - 125 miles but then that front, the front two quadrants, the top of the storm where the eye wall came in and impacted those three Keys directly. Summerland and also the key that -- I'm really worried about the deer population out there. (Inaudible) Alarms going off all across the community. And there were a handful of people -- very scary. There were a handful of people that decided to ride out this storm right on the water despite all those dire forecasts. Thankfully, the storm did weaken a little bit because of the interaction with Cuba. If this thing came in as a category 5, a lot more peopled would have lost their lives.
LEMON: reed Timmer thank you, I appreciate that, Reed Timmer. I want to bring in now meteorologist Pedram Javaheri in the CNN Weather Center, Pedram good to see you. The magnitude of Irma is unlike anything that we had ever seen before, I understand Irma has left Florida now, but it really didn't leave any part of the state untouched, did it?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, it could have impacted places just as south Florida, it would be a limited or at least localized sort of event. This was just about for everyone. It's not a Key West event, not a Tampa or Miami. It was widespread across the state. Came in Sunday morning as a category 4. First time in U.S. history we had two cat 4's making landfall in the same season. The longitude lined up there as hurricane Wilma. And the impact of Tampa would have been far more significant if it gone directly overhead. Back around parts of Jackson, the highest storm surge numbers ever observed since the 1840s. Charleston and Savannah also significantly damaged because the storm surge pushes into Florida and the state of Georgia and the Carolinas of course. And estimated 3.5 million customers would we without power in the state of Florida. And about 6 million without power right now. And 3.5 would be enough to make it the highest widespread power outage in U.S. history that related to weather. --
[23:10:12] LEMON: Listen, video that is been coming out of the islands that Irma first hit shows complete devastation -- and we'll put that up -- have those island nations ever experienced a storm like that before?
JAVAHERI: Not at all. I looked at the numbers. Models, this the European model was spot on in bringing southern Florida into the mix. This went from a tropical storm to a category 2. Didn't even get to cat 1, just skipped it. Came through as a category 5 across this region. Strongest we've seen on record. And then through Turks and Caicos, category 5 strongest on record for those island's landfall. And out of this region, I looked into the numbers, 2600 tropical storms and hurricanes have impacted the Caribbean, the Atlantic and parts of the east pacific since 1851 when records began. None of them were as strong as Irma was and as long as Irma was able to maintain intensity at 185 miles an hour for 37 consecutive hours. None of them as strong as this storm was able to maintain that for period.
LEMON: Pedram Javaheri, thank you, our meteorologist at the CNN Weather Center. We appreciate it. When we come back, one of the heroes rescuing desperate people from the Caribbean islands devastated by Irma, and you'll meet some of the people he helped rescued next.
[23:15:12] LEMON: Hurricane Irma slammed across the Caribbean leaving desperate people pleading for help. Joining me now one of the heroes doing rescues in the Caribbean, and in a moment we're going to talk to some Americans he helped rescue. But joining me via face time is Captain William Hall of the 106 rescue wing, Captain we appreciate you joining us, and we're going to show some of the video your unit took while conducting rescue operations. And these are some truly amazing pictures. How many people were you able to rescue in all?
CAPT WILLIAM HALL, HC-130 COMBAT KING PILOT, 106TH RESCUE WING: I think our overall group picked up 1,543 people from St. Maarten through four days of work.
LEMON: Four days of work, right?
HALL: Four very long days, yes, sir.
LEMON: I can only imagine. Do you know how long you're going to be down there helping out?
HALL: I don't, sir. I do know there are talks of redeploying our assets to Florida to follow the wake and the path of hurricane Irma. And whatever it takes to best utilize our skill sets however we can, that is what we're here for.
LEMON: One of the things that were so hard to comprehend while conveying this story was the sheer scale of the damage and the flooding. Is that something you notice in particular when you're flying over? Do you notice it immediately?
HALL: Of course. Even getting our first landing seeing the destruction that even Puerto Rico felt was jarring. And our first daylight hop into St. Maarten and St. Croix, twisted metal wreckage. Something I've never seen in my career before, and I've been in the air force almost ten years now. So it was kind of staggering. So the things we could do to help however small or big it was our pleasure.
LEMON: And I'm sure the people you rescued, just the gratitude, I'm sure it showed on their faces and the fear as well, right?
HALL: Definitely there was some moments we would get the airplane, come to a complete stop, and open the door. And the first viewpoints of an American flag or a crew that was going to be taking them somewhere away from St. Maarten were very in between sheer and happiness, a lot of happy tears, a lot of embraces from families, wives, husband, kids. And that was really cool to watch kind of unfolding before my eyes.
LEMON: So captain, you came to the rescue of three women who were stranded on St. Maarten. What happened? Tell us about it.
HALL: To the best of my knowledge, they were guests at a hotel that buildings, structures, doors collapsed onto them. I've spoken to some of the victims that we helped, and they were hiding under mattresses with glass exploding all around them, deafening winds, things of that nature that really again, we didn't put two and two together until we saw their faces telling the stories. The details, it was really jarring.
LEMON: I want you to standby, captain, because I want to bring in now those three women. Joining me now on the phone from Puerto Rico, Virginia Dyer, Sarah Limsalato and also Kathleen Mcfarland. Good evening to you. How are you guys, doing? Virginia, you first. Virginia, can you get closer to the? We can't hear you.
VIRGINIA DYER, PUERTO RICO: Sure. Can you hear me now?
LEMON: How are you doing, yes I can hear you now. How are you doing?
Ok, so listen, Virginia, we can't hear you. So we're going to take a break and get it fixed. Standby, everyone. Don't go anywhere.
[23:23:21] LEMON: So we're back now talking about some of those who were stranded and some of the heroes of the storm. Three women who were in St. Maarten on vacation and finally got rescued by the 106th airborne. And the captain joined us just a moment ago. But I want to get to some of the women now. We've got Virginia, Sarah and Kathleen. Good evening, ladies. How are you doing?
DYER: Good evening. We're much better now that we're in San Juan.
LEMON: I bet you are. You and your friends were rescued by captain hall. I can't even imagine what you had been through and we are looking at the pictures of your hotel. It is completely destroyed, so Virginia tell us about that. What happened?
DYER: Well, we had to -- yeah, that is our bedroom right there. We had to evacuate from a couple of different areas from the actual unit that we were in. We were in the living room first, and that is the ceiling. It blew off, and then we evacuated to the bedroom, which also blew off. You can see there. So we wound up having to evacuate down stairs. There was a connecting stairway between our unit and the unit down stair. And we went into the bathroom down stairs with a woman and her two young children. So the six of us stayed in that bathroom down stairs with the door barricaded with a mattress until the eye of the storm. And then during the eye of the storm some people came by and were starting to yell is there anyone in there, and then we were able to get out of that unit through her bedroom window and go into a little safer unit with probably another, I don't know, five families.
[23:25:02] LEMON: Wow.
DYER: And then we stayed in that unit and experienced the second half of the storm.
LEMON: Goodness. So when we look at these pictures, it's really hard to believe. I hate to say this that you guys survived when you look at the pictures of what happened in St. Maarten. It was inundated with water and wind, and so many structures are gone. Sarah, I know it must not have been easy for you to deal with this. But can you tell us what you experienced with the storm, what you saw and heard?
SARAH LIMSALATO, PUERTO RICO: Initially when the storm was happening, my main goal was just survive the storm. We did everything we needed to do to get the safety. The photos you're seeing is right outside our room and the beach we had Pina coladas on the day before. There were buildings and structures reduced to rubble by the storm had her way with us. Our main goal was to just survive, get enough food and water until help arrived.
LEMON: And Kathleen, eventually your prayers were answered. C-130 U.S. military plane came to rescue you and others. And by Captain Hall is still on the line, by the way. How relieved were you when you realized you were going to make it out?
KATHLEEN MCFARLAND, PUERTO RICO: Words can't describe it. Words absolutely can't describe it. I was swelling inside until almost bursting. That is how happy I was to see them. It was absolutely amazing. And they were fantastic. They really were. They took good care of us, and they got us here. And they got us out.
LEMON: Captain Hall is listening. What do you want to say to him?
MCFARLAND: Captain Hall, and we're at the hotel we're at in Puerto Rico, we've been spending quite a bit of time with the 106. And I believe I met Captain Hall. And let me tell you, Captain Hall, you and your men, you did your job. You were fantastic and I couldn't stop telling every serviceman I ran into, thank you. Thank you. I owe my life -- I owe my life to the U.S. Military who came and picked us off that island. I have no doubt about it at all.
LEMON: And he is smiling from ear to ear. Does he have every reason to?
MCFARLAND: Absolutely. And every serviceman we talked to, they say, you know, we so rarely get to talk to people after we rescue them. And they were full of pride, and we're full of pride for them and gratitude, endless gratitude.
LEMON: What do you want to say to them, Captain Hall? They're paying you the highest compliment there?
HALL: It's humbling, it is. I haven't been doing this very long, but the rewards the guys and I reap on these missions are things that last a lifetime. I know I'll never forget the people I met down here, people I've worked with, the help that we've gotten, all the hard work from everyone on the crew, all the tireless, thankless hours from the guys of the back of the airplane. Every minute of that has been worth it and tenfold.
LEMON: Ladies, can you tell me -- I spoke to Captain Hall earlier, and he was talking about being able to see the damage from the air and even Puerto Rico and let alone St. Maarten where you guys were. Can you just describe to us just how the extent of this damage, how breathtaking it was or is?
LIMSALATO: Yeah, it was absolutely terrible. It looked like somebody picked up the island and shook it upside down and put it back. There was no structure left intact. If there was a structure standing it was missing a roof or missing walls or it was filled with water. From what we were told, the French side of the island was far worse off than us. They were under water completely. These were just photos of our room that we were in. We were able to get out. The United States government was going to get us out, and they did. And the people that live there, I just hope they can receive some aide so they can take care of their families and children as well.
LEMON: I understand some of those that were there were actually giving some supplies to some of the natives, is that correct?
LIMSALATO: Yes, we had actually scavenged some food and supplies. We told her to go into the room we were staying and take whatever she need. We weren't able to bring your luggage with us. There wasn't enough room. And we told her to go in and take whatever she needed to keep her and her boys safe.
LEMON: What do you think Captain, what are the folks needs most there?
HALL: The basic blocks of survival. Food, water, access to medicine. I know so many things people around the world are currently spinning up to deliver. More people like myself in military squadron that surrounds the U.S. from my small viewpoint in this massive machine, I can tell you that everyone that I know that operates an aircraft whether it be a pilot, a load master, a flight engineer, their all gearing up in small and very meaningful ways to make what happened on St. Maarten vanish as fast as possible. And with as little human suffering as we can provide or we can cause or however we can help, we're here to do it. That is why we trained and we're here to help.
LEMON: Captain we thank you for your service. I know you guys don't like to be called heroes, but you are. And the ladies appreciate it and we appreciate it, and I'm sure your families do, right ladies?
KATHLEEN MCFARLAND, PUERTO RICO: Oh, absolutely. Very much so.
SARAH LIMSALATO, PUERTO RICO: Absolutely are our heroes.
LEMON: Thank you all. Best of luck to you. We appreciate you joining us here on CNN. Good luck.
MCFARLAND Thank you. VIRGINIA DYER, PUERTO RICO: Thank you.
LIMSALATO: Good night.
LEMON: For ways you can help those affected by hurricane Irma go to CNN.com/impact. With we come back millions of people from Florida want to know when they can return to their homes. And we're going to ask officials how long it'll take to pick up the pieces.
[23:35:25] LEMON: Cities and towns across Florida trying to assess the massive devastation left by Irma. I want to bring in now CNN's Derek Van Dam. You are in the Coconut Grove section of Miami. Describe what you see.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN'S METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, we're in the Bay Shore Marina, specifically one of the many marinas in Coconut Grove. And what you're seeing behind me is some of the worst damage these marinas have seen in the past 12 years. And we all remember 2005 hurricane Katrina coming aboard this particular region. It's incredible to see what the waters can do. Throwing around sail boats and full luxury fishing boats behind me like toys. Couple that with 100 mile per hour winds and it's it recipe for disaster. Some of the sailboats, all you can see is the tops of their masts. We've talked to some of the locals here, and they have said we believe we missed the worst of the storm. Because a considerable number of the boats are tied up and unharmed. That luxury liner behind me, by the way, that is laying on top of a concrete dock. Unbelievable, Don.
LEMON: Interesting. So the Miami mayor said today, Derek, that the roads his main concern because so many trees are down. How difficult was it to get around today?
VAN DAM: Without a doubt, just driving around the roads, first of all there's a lot of areas still without electricity. There were power lines everywhere. As we were driving around, we would have to stop very quickly because of these downed lines. We've spent time talking to the Mayor Philip Levine and his message to residents wanting to come home is it's time to come home but not until 8:00 tomorrow morning. A lot of people getting agitated, because they haven't been able to return just for that reason. Crews are working overtime to clear out the roads, clear up the power lines and resume normal operations across that area. But it is going to take several days. Again 8:00 a.m. tomorrow that mandatory evacuation lifted in Miami Beach specifically.
LEMON: Derek and we also heard that airport services could resume this week.
VAN DAM: Yes, Fort Lauderdale actually opens up at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. And Miami International, that is a bit slower go, they had about considerable water damage across that area. I think some of the course and terminals have been affected. They're going to slowly resume operations. But Miami international tweeting today they double-check the airport to make sure their flights are leaving tomorrow.
LEMON: Derek thank you very much, we appreciate that. Marco Island is southwest Florida took a direct hit from hurricane Irma. On the phone with me now is Chief Mike Murphy Marco Island of fire and rescue. Thanks for joining us again Chief. Today you described Marco Island as the little engine that did it. Tell us why you said that.
CHIEF MIKE MURPHY, FIRE AND RESCUE, MARCO ISLAND: Well, I think it was the community effort. I think that Marco Island is 24 square miles. We are a resort destination in the world. And during the event itself, the hurricane came through. We experienced 130 miles an hour winds. We took the direct hit of the eye. And immediately afterwards we started to see the eye and the back phase of the hurricane. And nobody could get to us, and we had groups, social groups on the island that were working together to help rescue people. And this is before it became too dark. And our crews are push out crews went out, our emergency crews went out, and our public works and utilities people got out immediately afterwards, worked until about 3:00 in the morning. We pulled our crews back in. They got a couple of hours of rest and were back out at sunrise.
LEMON: So what did you find when you guys were out surveying?
MURPHY: We found some pretty significant damage. We have an area called Goodland that we provide fire service to on the island. An old Florida fishing village.
[23:40:00] People live in trailers, and the old Florida homes were devastated. They have two large marinas on the island. And one of the marinas the towers and boats stack in that marina are laid down on the side. Significant damage. Perhaps one of the most unusual things I've ever seen, we have a high rise condominium at the very north end of our island. It is right at the Marco River, and it's on a path that comes into Smokehouse bay. And that condominium, the sea wall failed on it. And as a result the water was washed from underneath parts of the condominium exposing the piling. So we have this building that is sitting at one of the major points of our island that we've now told the residents they cannot go back to, it will have to be evaluated and the engineering put back.
LEMON: What resources did you receive from FEMA today, chief?
MURPHY: We are proud to say that FEMA pre-staged a lot of resources in the state of Florida. One of the teams that was pre-staged was the Phoenix, Arizona search and rescue team. It's an 80 member federal team that responds. They actually came from hurricane Harvey in the Houston area. They were being dispatched back to their own. When this event came up, they were turned around. They pre-staged in Orlando, and they ended up on our little island. They are here now. They're going to do some search through the Goodland area tomorrow. It's a great federal asset that was put here to help us and our community.
LEMON: Quickly, I want to ask you two things. Damage to the water system you told us last night, do you have an update on that? MURPHY: Yes, our water system was completely put out. We had a lot
of problems with it today. There's numerous water main breaks all over the island. We're still operating at extremely low-water pressure. But fortunately because of our local electric company, they actually got the plants powered up tonight.
MURPHY: And we're also out of power on the entire island. So we've got a couple of places that are on.
LEMON: Let me ask you quickly, because I've got to get to a break. There was a dolphin rescue on Marco Island today. Have you seen a lot of displaced animals on the island?
MURPHY: We haven't seen a lot of displaced animals. A lot of the good fish were up on the roadways and things, but that is mostly what we've seen.
LEMON: Chief Mike Murphy, thank you, sir.
MURPHY: Thank you very much.
LEMON: Tonight Florida officials still trying to get a full assessment of the extent of the damage in the destruction on the Florida Keys. And before we go to go break, I want to bring in now Heather Carruthers, the commissioner in Monroe County. By all accounts, the Keys were hit by Irma as much as anywhere in Florida. Can you tell us the conditions in the Keys right now?
HEATHER CARRUTHERS, COMMISSIONER IN MONROE COUNTY: Sure. The worst hit areas were those that were just to the east of the eye wall, which hit about mile marker 20. So from what we recall they're lower and middle Keys took a pretty bad hit both in storm surge as well as some wind damage. We're still in the process of assessing that damage. We have no cell service. We have no water right now, and we have no electricity. But we've been working around the clock to do things like clear the roads. We have one road that is 120 miles long from the mainland to Key West. And we're pretty surprised of the 42 bridges on that road seem like they are all passable. They've all been inspected. So we've been able to get a whole lot of emergency vehicles through right now.
We're in the process of evaluating exactly what all the damage is. Really it varies. Key West itself expected, I think, a much bigger storm surge and much greater winds. And we haven't seen a lot of structural damage in Key West. Storm surge there was not as great as it was in hurricane Wilma. Key Largo had some spotty areas we real we had damage as well. These water spout and tornadoes that can pick off single homes and structures out of the area. And we see a lot of that as well. But we have people going go to door making sure everyone is safe. But most people in the Keys heed our concerns and warnings. And some even did knowing the size of this storm the strength.
[23:45:24] LEMON: Commissioner, a spokesman for Florida Keys told CNN that 5,000 of the Keys, 30,00o permit residents decided to ride out this storm, do you know how many of those 5,000 people survive in the storm?
CARRUTHERS: I'm not sure, maybe they were talking about the City of Key West alone. I have not heard of any fatalities in the City of Key West. I know there were -- we have not heard of any fatalities in Key West. There will be fatalities elsewhere in the Keys. And we don't have any numbers on that yet. I don't think it's going to be anything like the numbers you're talking about, though.
LEMON: But you think there will be fatalities beyond Key West?
CARRUTHERS: We know there will be some fatalities. Plus we had had some fatalities that may not be storm related before the storms. One was a car crash before the storm hit. Because the winds were picking up, we couldn't do much forensic investigation to determine the cause of the accident. And other one was someone that died of natural causes in one of our shelters. But we do know there have been people who have perished. We're finding some remains. But I don't know numbers yet.
LEMON: We'll check back with you. And at this point because you haven't had a chance to assess everything. And sadly, those numbers may go up. So it's probably good we don't get numbers now. Thank you, appreciate it.
CARRUTHERS: You're welcome. Thanks very much. Everybody stay safe.
LEMON: Absolutely. And when we come back a woman from St. John who was vacationing in Florida during Irma, her family surviving and losing everything. Her story next.
[23:51:15] LEMON: Irma has devastated the homes of so many families and separated others. I want to bring in now KC Bsisu resident of St. Jean who missed Irma's devastation there and is now in Cape Coral, near Fort Myers. Thank you so much for joining us. I've got to ask you, you and your husband have survived Irma twice, but at two different times and in two different locations. Tell us about that.
KC BSISU, RESIDENT OF ST. THOMAS NOW IN CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA: We are both just very thankful. I got very lucky here in Cape Coral that we did not get the brunt of it. He was not so lucky, but he is alive and I'm thankful.
LEMON: So tell the viewers where you and your husband were. You were on St. John.
BSISU: I left the restaurant I work with closes for the offseason, so I left for a preplanned trip and I actually was in New York when this was happening and we decided I should stay safe. So I stayed and went on my vacation. Obviously a little bit hindered by these things. And when Irma was coming here, I just -- I couldn't make myself go farther away from trying to get home.
LEMON: I know you haven't been able to talk to your husband in St. John. How have you been able to communicate? BSISU: There's one cell signal in town, thy all have to go on top of
a pizza place in order to get a phone call out. I get a couple minutes in the morning and if I'm lucky once in the evening or afternoon. So just basically it's a check in, are you okay, what do you need, that kind of a thing?
LEMON: And I mean, right now you can't get anything to him, right?
BSISU: No. I am working my way back there, hopefully within the week with some of the construction supplies he has requested. Right now everyone else is concentrating on the food and water, the absolute necessities, which is awesome. The National Guard came in today I heard that the NAVY appeared. St. Croix brought some officers up to patrol. I talked to a boat captain today who has been -- all of this is out of his own pocket or his company's pocket. They have had no help financially to do this, but they have been running multiple boats from Puerto Rico to Saint John with supplies and then coming back with 30 to 40 passengers to get them back to Puerto Rico. He said they're just exhausted. They've been dog 12-hour days. And he also said that the first couple days he thought, man, this is a long day, I'm exhausted and then you've got people just crying joy for being safe and out of there and he said you get to be a hero.
LEMON: Yeah. Has he told you about what's left of your home and your possession, KC?
BSISU: We rent an apartment that we live in and the roof was gone. There was not much left. His question to me was is there anything you'd like me to try to find.
LEMON: But I'm sure you're happy that he is ok. That is the main thing.
BSISU: That is the important part. He was hunkered down with four other people, two couples and five dogs in a one-bedroom apartment. They went to the lower apartments in the building, and the top apartment, the roof blew off. They had trees on cars, but they managed to stay safe.
[23:55:12] LEMON: And I understand -- today is your wedding anniversary.
BSISU: Today is the day -- we didn't have our Party on this day, but this is the day that we got married. This is the day I was supposed to be home.
LEMON: Oh, wow. Well, KC, thank you so much. We're glad that you're safe and we're glad that your husband is safe as well. We appreciate you joining us.
BSISU: Thank you so much.
LEMON: Good luck. Amazing stories of survival. Listen, before we leave you tonight, I want you to take a look at New York City's tribute in light. It's a yearly remembrance of those we lost in the 9/11 attack, 16 years ago today, a total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington and outside Pennsylvania. Never forget. Thanks for watching. Good night.