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Evacuees Land At DIA Ahead Of Irma

By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – Images of the damage in the British Virgin Islands has been breathtaking.

Hurricane Irma hit that region on Thursday. Eight people were killed there and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Twenty-two people have died throughout the Caribbean.

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Several people were able to fly out right before the airports started to close.

Some of those people flew into Denver International Airport Friday night.

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One evacuee describes the cheers from passengers as one of the last planes lifted off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

"I'm just glad to be in Colorado," says Brent Taylor, an Irma evacuee.

Taylor flew into D.I.A. after leaving his home near West Palm Beach.

"There is not going to be anything to go home to," says Taylor, "They say anything within one mile to 40 miles is going to be decimated. And so, I left my whole apartment behind. And everything in it."

For now, Taylor is staying with friends in Colorado as Florida braces for landfall of Hurricane Irma.

He fears for his loved ones left behind.

"I left two parents behind. They're both 90," says Taylor.

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JoAnn Sanborn, another evacuee, says she's not sure what she'll go back home to, "I think we're all uncertain about what our future will bring."

Sanborn, Michael Meguid and their chihuahua "Lucy" got off the Gulf Coast's Marco Island in one of the last flights leaving Fort Lauderdale.

"We'll probably go back. We're not sure what we'll find. I'm very concerned that two of my neighbors decided to stay. So I've been praying for them," says Meguid.

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Denver residents Greg Lomen and Chad Everhart cut their business trip in Florida short and saw long lines coming back from Orlando's airport.

"We just jumped on the earliest flight we could get on," says Lomen, "We were supposed to be there through Sunday, but we wanted to get out."

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Taylor says his current situation is less-than comfortable, "can you imagine being in a cot where you've got somebody 18 inches away from you, putting up with people that snore all night or have kids or animals. I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

Airports in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando are closed.

The Tampa International Airport will close its doors at 8 p.m. local time on Saturday.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to


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