Columbus family houses 18 family members, 7 dogs ahead of Irma - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Columbus family houses 18 family members, 7 dogs ahead of Irma

(Source: Sharifa Jackson) (Source: Sharifa Jackson)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson) (Source: Sharifa Jackson)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson) (Source: Sharifa Jackson)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson) (Source: Sharifa Jackson)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A Columbus family has taken in several fur-babies and their owners from South Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.

The Valldeperas family hosting over a dozen family members and seven dogs escaping the storm.

“Of course, it’s our family, but we would want to help whoever needed help under any circumstances.” said Jessica Valldeperas.

Lilly Aguiler made the long trip from Fort Lauderdale to Columbus Saturday night.

"Never have I ever been this scared of a hurricane before,” Lily Aguiler.

After waiting, and watching constant weather coverage, Aguiler decided it was the best decision to escape the possible dangerous storm.

"I was scared that my house was going to blow away, get flooded, or tornadoes, I was really nervous and stressed out because I have a 1-year-old daughter,” said Aguiler.

With family by her side, Aguiler set off for Georgia. A trip consisting of long hours, bumper to bumper traffic and a what Lilly describes as an overwhelming experience.

"Gas lines everywhere, people going crazy, it was really scary,” said Aguiler.

The nearly 9-hour trip took over 12 hours of stop and go traffic.

But at the end of the 12-hour trek, family members in Columbus welcoming the Florida evacuees consisting of 18 people total and 7 dogs.

The family all sharing one roof.

"They had looked into hotels, and there's nothing, they would have to go all the way to Louisiana, or up to Kentucky or Tennessee or something to get a hotel,” said Jessica Valldeperas.

As they wait out the storm, the family is taking this time to bond, and enjoy missed time together, but hoping they for the best when they return home.

"We have no idea what to expect, just depends on when they open up the roads to get back into Florida. Who knows... I really don't know,” said Aguiler.

The Valldeperas family say they are also preparing for potential storm threats in Columbus. They have removed all outdoor chairs, tables, bought candles and extra food.

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