Pittsburgh Pirates provide sleeping quarters in Bradenton for first responders during Hurricane Ian

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Pirate City is home to 50 Bradenton police officers who are staying in town responding to calls during Hurricane Ian.

Jeff Podobnik, the Pirates’ Vice President of Florida Operations, spoke with WPXI Cara Sapida on Zoom today from his home in Florida. Podobnik says 20 baseball players who were staying in the Pirate City dorms flew out of Florida and are home safely with their families. The building was rebuilt in 2008 to withstand strong winds. 50 police are now staying in the dorms, which are a safe space for them as they stay in town to help residents weather the storm.

“Pirate City is actually becoming an emergency operations center for the city of Bradenton and we are currently housing approximately 50 police officers.

We had about 20 players staying at Pirate City as well as major league players in rehab. Many players come from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, all over the United States, and we were able to work with them to send them home so that they are not in danger,” said Podobnik.

These players flew out before the airports closed.

Millvale resident Chris Jadick, husband of a Channel 11 worker, didn’t get a flight on time. Jadick had hoped to get home before the storm hit.

“I’m trying to get to Pittsburgh this weekend. I wanted to get there on Thursday but Tampa International Airport closed earlier this week and will remain closed. Hopefully the airport will reopen on Friday and I can get in then,” Jadick said.

We contacted the Western Pennsylvania Red Cross. They have 500 trained Red Cross staff on the ground in Florida, with supplies to help 60,000 people.

They won’t send more volunteers until they understand the impact of the storm—and have thousands ready to be mobilized.

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