Fleeing Florida Storm in Lehighton

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LEHIGHTON -- A family from Carbon County moved to Florida just months ago. The entire family now has seven homes in the city of Naples in southwest Florida, but were thankful to still have their family home in Lehighton. It became their safe place to watch from afar as Hurricane Irma made landfall this weekend.

Patty Burns and her sister-in-law are originally from Lehighton but just moved to Naples, Florida in May. Last week, when they saw just how big this monster storm was getting, they decided to drive back up north.

"We're all safe and we all made it back here to home, original home. So we're all doing well," said Pam Fludgate.

Fludgate left Naples Wednesday morning and started the drive up to Carbon County. Later that day, she convinced her sister-in-law to leave too. This is their first hurricane season as new Florida residents, and Fludgate says they weren't taking any chances.

"They never had a Category 5, nor was there ever a storm 400-miles wide. I knew it was going to be a little bit different than anything Florida ever experienced."

Burns is tracking her neighborhood online. She says she lives in a flood zone and the three roads leading to her house are closed. She doesn't know if there is damage or when she'll be able to go home.

"I'm ready to go now, I want to see what's happening but a person of reason is telling me it's not safe, we have to wait, so hopefully tomorrow," said Burns.

When they do pack up to leave, they are prepared for the worst. Burns and her husband found two generators left in stock at a store in Quakertown and were able to pick them up on Monday.

"They had two. We called them they actually gave us a discount on them knowing we were taking them back to Florida."

Fludgate's home in Naples has some downed trees and broken windows, but she knows there is no water damage.

"A neighbor who chose not to leave in a one-level home went to our house yesterday to get to safety on the second floor."

The family tells us they do not plan to sell their home in Lehighton, and they will celebrate holidays there. They say they will drive back to Florida when they feel it's safe enough.


  • Tommygunn

    Didnt think anyone in Lehighton could afford a house in Naples Florida. Its the most expensive city in the entire state of Florida. Flood insurance alone would be a fortune. I can see someone from nepa buying a house in the panhandle aka the redneck riviera! Trailer parking it.

      • mike chiles

        Smart Comment actually. They are from a dump like Lehighton but they pick the most expensive area in Florida to live in. Property values are extremely high in Naples. Then throw in Flood insurance rates which are just gonna rise after this year. Which make mortgage payments unaffordable. You got to make 500 k a year to buy something half decent in Collier County in a class A or B flood zone.

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