The owner of the Gengiz Khan Turkish Grill plans to transform his South Tampa restaurant into a Hurricane Irma shelter.
- Owner Ergin Tek offering shelter to residents, pets
- Tek: building sturdy, sits about 30 feet above sea level
- Tek creating Facebook Event page for people to sign up for shelter
“It’s my duty,” said owner Ergin Tek, 38. “This neighborhood has been really good to me -- It’s my time to return.”
Tek unloaded extra propane tanks and a generator on Friday. The restaurant owner believes he has enough food to make 10,000 meals and can house up to 200 evacuees.
“I’m turning the restaurant into a shelter for everyone who needs it, including cats and dogs,” he said. “I’m going to probably cook two meals a day.”
Tek said his building is sturdy and sits about 30 feet above sea level.
“I’ll personally spend my dangerous time here because I know, I believe, it’s better than my house,” he said.
Residents who live nearby said they appreciate the option.
“It’s a plan-B for sure and will make my wife feel a little more comfortable. Just in case we need to go somewhere,” said Shawn Jeffers. “When somebody can give up their business to their community in a time of need is a really great offering.”
The only thing Tek doesn’t have to offer is bedding, but otherwise believes his evacuees will be comfortable.
“We’ll have a place to lay down and bathrooms and food and hopefully air conditioning will run,” he said. “I have a doctor friend who will be here and provide medical needs for anybody who has emergencies.”
Tek is creating a Facebook event page for anyone who wants to sign up for his hurricane shelter.