Local News

Washington couple survives Hurricane Irma in the Virgin Islands

SPOKANE, Wash. - As Hurricane Irma threatens part of the United States, one Spokane family has already faced a very stressful few days. But now, they’re breathing a sigh of relief.

Brianna Wilds and Mark Edwards, both from Washington, have been living in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands for the past four years. Unfortunately, their new home was in the line of this historic storm.

For days, Wilds kept in touch with her family, as the storm continued growing, along with her concerns. As Irma neared St. Thomas, Wilds realized it was too late to leave. Her family in Washington was sick with worry.

There was not reliable cell phone service, so Wilds’ family in the United States anxiously waited for hours, through Wednesday night, to find out if she and her boyfriend survived the more than 100 mph winds and torrential rain.

Finally, the call they had been waiting for came Thursday morning. Wilds’ aunt Terese Steven said she can’t imagine what her niece went through.

“My sister called me back immediately after she got off the phone with my niece and said they survived [and] that the whole island is demolished. They can't get anywhere and they don't know if they have their house, their apartment. They had their dog with them. They can't get anywhere. I guess it's water,” Steven said.

Steven says both Wilds and Edwards prepared for the storm and took cover in a bar where Edwards works. She was able to call her family on a phone she borrowed from someone, using the little battery and service available to her.

Steven said the couple had never experienced anything like this before. And while she’s grateful her niece, Edwards, and their dog are safe, she’s praying for other families impacted by this storm, and other natural disasters.

“It just relieved me. She’s safe. But at the same token, there was 10 people that didn’t make it out and so my heart bleeds for the people who lost their lives due to this hurricane, the flooding in Texas, and wildfires across the country,” Steven said.