Pittsburgh Pirates offering dorms in Bradenton for first responders during Hurricane Ian

BRADENTON, Fl. — Pirate City is hosting 50 Bradenton police officers who are staying in town to respond to calls during Hurricane Ian.

Jeff Podobnik, the Pirates Vice President of Florida Operations, spoke to WPXI Cara Sapida over Zoom today from his Florida home. Podobnik says 20 ballplayers who were staying in the Pirate City dorms have flown out of Florida and are home safe with their families. The building was rebuilt in 2008 to withstand hurricane-strength winds. 50 police officers are now staying in the dorms, which is a safe space for them as they stay in town to help residents through the storm.

“Pirate City actually becomes an emergency operation center for the city of Bradenton and right now we are housing about 50 police officers.

We had approximately 20 players staying in Pirate City plus some major league players doing some rehab. A lot of players are from Venezuela, Dominican Republic, throughout the United States, and we were able to work with them to get them sent home so they are not in harm’s way,” Podobnik said.

Those players flew out before the airports shut down.

Millvale resident Chris Jadick, a husband of a Channel 11 employee, did not get a flight in time. Jadick had hoped to fly home before the storm hit.

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

We reached out to the western Pennsylvania Red Cross. They have 500 trained Red Cross employees on the ground in Florida, with supplies to help 60,000 people.

They will not be sending more volunteers until after they understand the impact of the storm--- and have thousands ready to be mobilized.

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