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Nettles Island resident who didn't evacuate 'grateful' home wasn't damaged in Hurricane Matthew

Urges others not to take chances in next storm
Posted at 11:17 PM, Oct 10, 2016

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. -- They made the risky decision to stay on Hutchinson Island during Hurricane Matthew. Now, residents of Nettles Island who ignored the mandatory evacuations are calling themselves lucky to have minimal damage from the storm.

Residents who weathered the storm are still urging people not to follow their lead in the future.

They worry someone might see their good fortune, and consider ignoring future evacuation orders.

Marietta Newell did listen to the evacuation order. She and her husband left their home and stayed with other family.

When they came back home, they were relieved. “I’m very grateful…. we had electricity, we had cable. What more do you need?” They do not regret their decision to leave.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara specifically urged Nettles Island residents to evacuate.

He was heard saying in a news conference before the storm, “In the community of Nettles Island, for some reason, there is a large group of residents still there. I’m asking you, I'm begging you, you probably need to evacuate.”
 
Michael Samuels was one of those residents who ignored the sheriff’s plea.

“I considered leaving, but it’s my home. It’s my life. I didn’t want to leave,” Samuels said.

He lives on a boat, and is also a dock master for the marina on Nettles Island.

He took shelter at the marina, watching over his home and the other boats.

“I felt like somebody need to,” Samuels said.

He knew it wasn’t the smartest decision, but is grateful the storm had minimal impacts.

He doesn’t want anyone to test their luck after seeing his success.

“I hope they don’t. One turn in that storm would be devastating," said Samuels.