Lafayette

Apr 27, 2011 11:22 PM by Maddie Garrett

Many Evacuees Still Unable to Return Home

Crews were able to stop the natural gas well from spewing Wednesday afternoon, but as of Wednesday night the rig is still considered insecure and that means it's not safe for some families to return home.

The American Red Cross reported roughly 970 people checked in Wednesday as evacuees from the blow out. Some of those families have been allowed back into their homes after the evacuation area was reduced to half a mile. But there were still hundreds of people who couldn't return home and had to find another place to stay.

At four o'clock -- after hours of sitting, wondering and waiting -- evacuees got some good news. They would be allowed back home just for a minute to get their belongings.

"We figured this would be taken care of pretty fast but apparently not, they're telling us now three or four days so we're playing it by ear," said evacuee Doug Cates.

Many people left behind pets or important medicines. Brett Klein is now short a pay check because of the evacuation.

"I work offshore so I was supposed to go off on a job tonight and all my certifications and credentials are at the house so I missed out on a job because of this," said Klein.

State police reduced the evacuation area down to a half mile radius, so some lucky residents got to go home. Others were escorted to their houses by police just to get what they needed and then leave.

"Not sure, don't know where I'm going to go yet," said John Senegal as he lined up to talk to police.

"When they let us get our stuff, get a hotel room for the night. If we still can't go home tomorrow, might have to go to Houston and stay with some family," said Klein.

Judice Middle School has been closed as a staging center, and the Red Cross has left that location. You can still contact the Red Cross at (337) 234- 7371, if you need help.

A shelter was not set up and residents were asked to find a place to stay with family or friends. If they choose a motel or hotel, the company will reimburse them for expenses. Residents must check in with the Red Cross to be reimbursed.

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