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KEY WEST, Fla. - Workers at the house where famed author Ernest Hemingway once lived told FOX23 many of them are going to stay there during Hurricane Irma.
Dan Gonzales, public relations director for the Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida, said some employees volunteered to stay at the house during the storm.
"Basically we have 10 employees that are staying here on staff and it's because all the lower Florida Keys, people should evacuate," Gonzales said. “The employees will be at the house with the estimated 54 cats that live on the grounds. Many of the famed Hemingway cats have six toes and are descendants of a cat once owned by the author.
The general manager of the property told FOX23 they have never left for a storm. Gonzales said the Hemingway home is an anomaly on Key West. "We have a very unusual situation here. The Hemingway Home sits at 16 feet above sea level and it's built out of 18-inch blocks of limestone," Gonzales said.
He said it's been there since 1851 with no damage.
Church officials blessed the home before the rest of the area was evacuated, according to the Hemingway Home’s Facebook page.
"Generally, someone always stays here during a hurricane; anywhere from two to today, when there are 10 staff members. In fact, this was a safer place for them to be," Gonzales said.
He said much of the town and area around them seem like a ghost town, but they plan on posting on their Facebook page as long as they have a connection.
"A lot of true born conchs, that's what we're called here in Key West, when you're born here, a lot of them have always stayed. But this is one of the first storms I've heard a few of them say they're not staying for this particular one.
Construction crews boarded up the windows on the property a few days ago.