There are more than 4,000 hurricane evacuees in San Antonio, SAFD says

San Antonio hotels filling up as more evacuees arrive

More than 2,000 evacuees in San Antonio hotels; VIA joins relief efforts by bussing people from shelters to hotels

San Antonio – The city is experiencing a surge of evacuees from the coast and hotels are filling up.

“We didn’t get a lot of warning about that, so we’ve had to respond very quickly to it,” said Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Judge.

Hotels are adjusting as evacuees arrive.

According to the San Antonio Fire Department, by 9 a.m. Thursday the city had processed 4,063 evacuees from Hurricane Laura.

The mayor of San Antonio said the pandemic led to cuts in hotel service. The surge in evacuees occurred in just a handful of hours.

“We’ve got a lot of empty rooms in hotels around this city, but you know, we don’t have staff. So people are having to recall staff to get those rooms operational,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

The city opened the processing center on Gembler Road Tuesday afternoon and expected about 300 people.

A spokesperson with the San Antonio Fire Department said as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, 2,508 evacuees were processed.

Carlos Martinez traveled from Beaumont with six family members.

He said they brought what they could fit in their vehicle, including some clothes for the next couple of days.

“We saw by the news that they were giving some help, you know, because you know with COVID we are kind of short on money and we wanted some help, you know for the hotel,” Martinez said.

Some people are coming from the city of Port Arthur.

Mayor Thurman Bartie said they gave everyone the opportunity to leave.

“We can’t make you leave and you decided this on your own, so you can stay, but you are on your own. Don’t dial 911 because no one is going to answer and guess what, its just you and God,” said Thurman Bartie, mayor of the city of Port Arthur.

Bartie said about 30 percent of the community has decided to stay in the coastal town.

He said residents who have evacuated should not return for a few days.

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.