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Florida evacuees happy to head home, hopeful for minimal damages

(WPDE)

Tuesday afternoon, many families who escaped Hurricane Irma by coming to Florence and Dillon were gassing up to head back home.

Some said they were leaving with better news than they had originally expected.

Wayne Benner and his family live in Fort Myers, Florida. He got a good report about his home Tuesday.

"We got some good news that the house was okay, still no electric. I run a couple of businesses down there, still no electric--a little damaged, but most of my guys are okay," he said.

Benner became emotional when asked how relieved he was to find out that his home had been spared from Hurricane Irma.

"Pretty good, real good. Been in the house for 30 years, so, you know," he said.

Benner's daughter, Katherine, is just as happy.

"Just praying that we had a house to go back to. Plywood was out. We couldn't even board up our windows. So, we weren't sure what we were coming back to," she said.

Neither did Jake Eckman and his wife, until they got a call Tuesday morning.

"We had some minor damage. The shingles came off, some of our--we just had a brand new screen put around the pool. Some of our panels were damaged, but other than that we were very fortunate," Eckman said.

Edward Schiff's home was right in the eye of the storm. But, the outcome of Irma wasn't what he expected.

"We didn't get any damage at all, which is amazing--no flooding. They said we were gonna have a storm surge. We didn't get that either," he said.

Many Floridians heading through Florence said their neighbors weren't so lucky. They plan to do all they can to help each out when they get back to Florida.

RELATED: Lane closed on I-95 in Dillon County as Irma evacuees head home

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