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Indy man rides out Irma in Puerto Rico hotel lobby

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) — An Indianapolis man was hoping to fly back home Friday after riding out Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico.

About a million people were still without power Thursday night in Puerto Rico.

Bryan Harp told 24-Hour News 8 he had never experienced anything like this before, especially since he is from Indianapolis.

He got to San Juan on Sunday for a vacation and tried to fly back early to avoid the storm, but everything was sold out. He said he had to ride out the storm Wednesday night in the main lobby of the hotel.

Cellphone video taken last night shows the impact of Hurricane Irma as it moved through San Juan.

“I was a little worried just because of the whole Texas hurricane,” Harp said. “But everybody here said as long as we were in the hotel we’d be safe.”

Harp and many other guests staying at the Holiday Inn Express San Juan Condado gathered in the main lobby and waited for the storm to pass.

“I mean you could hear it, you could hear the rain and the wind, and you could just look out the window and see the streets flooding,” he said.

Harp said the hotel ordered everyone back to the building by noon.

“They called everybody and told us to grab personal items and meet down at the lobby about 5 p.m. and then from there we just stayed there until like 8:30 p.m.,” he said.

After the storm had passed, Harp said he stepped outside and saw the damage.

“It’s mostly palm trees down, like the leaves all down in the streets, and boards in the middle of the street, and it was like pitch black,” he said. “So we tried to walk to the end of the street. We couldn’t really see anything because the lights were out.”

Harp said many businesses are closed because they don’t have power while others are running on generators.

“They’ll probably be without power for a few weeks or even longer, so that’s all the worry people here have is electricity,” he said.

This trip turned into a trip he will never forget, Harp said. He’s ready to head back to Indianapolis.

“Supposed to leave tomorrow afternoon but that just depends on we’re supposed to do a layover in Atlanta but I don’t know how things are going there,” he said.

Hurricane Irma could hit Georgia by Monday so Harp is hoping he can make it back to Indianapolis on Friday without any problems.

Harp said he’s planning to return to San Juan in October.