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Tensions running high as Keys residents wait to return home

Tensions running high as Keys residents wait to return home

NEW YORK POST reports:

Tempers flared Monday at the closed entrance to the Florida Keys, where residents waited in the heat to return home after Hurricane Irma barreled through.

People erupted in protest when Monroe County police allowed two unmarked vehicles through the checkpoint after saying that only utility companies and state contractors would be allowed to pass, the Miami Herald reported.

“That’s bulls–t!” a Keys resident, who refused to give his name, shouted at cops at a RaceTrac gas station. “Those people are tourists!”

When a deputy sheriff approached, the man put his hands behind his back and dared the officer to cuff him.

“People are dying in there. They’re thirsty, they’re hungry,” he told the official.

“I say we all just get in the car and drive. What are they going to do? Shoot us?” another man yelled to others at the gas station, according to the newspaper.

“This stuff right here is the reason why next storm they aren’t going to get people out of the Keys,” said the man, who only identified himself as a Cudjoe Key resident. “I’ve been in the Keys for 40 years. This is the first time I ever evacuated, and it’ll be my last.”

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol set up the roadblock, which prevented residents from jumping on US Route 1 or Card Sound Road to make their way to the Keys.

Among those who were permitted access were members of the Florida National Guard, who showed up before sunrise to help clean up the debris-littered roads.

“We’ll receive instruction from them — hey, what do you need? What kind of obstacles are we going to see and what kind of debris do we have? And we’ll go from there,” National Guard Capt. Corey Gathers told ABC affiliate Local 10 News.

For some, friends and relatives who stayed behind were able to check on property and help allay fears. But for others, not knowing what they’ll find was keeping them on edge.

“I had a friend that was in the Keys and said my property was fine — a couple of trees fallen down and everything, but everything looked good,” Eddie Tejera told the station.

Another resident said he had no idea what to expect once he is able to return home.

“God only knows. I have no idea,” said the man, who only gave his first name, Juan.

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