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Hartford residents keep in contact with loved ones bracing for Hurricane Irma

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HARTFORD – While Hurricane Irma may not be hitting Connecticut it is still directly impacting many people in the state that have ties to Florida and the Caribbean.

Hartford is home to the largest Puerto Rican population in the state, according to census data.

At Paraiso Infantil, a Catholic Charities daycare and school in Hartford, all staff members have ties to Puerto Rico.

Educators said it was hard to work, Wednesday, while Hurricane Irma made way towards their family members in the Caribbean.

“We’re very worried about this hurricane, the wind, the magnitude of the wind,” School Readiness Director Olga Toledo said. “It is impacting my staff, myself, the whole Spanish community.”

Toledo said she has several family members in Puerto Rico including her brother, Jose Lopez, who lives on the beach.

Toledo said her brother has been keeping in contact with her and called her in the early evening to report he had lost power.

“It's uncertain, the big concern is the loss of power,” Toledo said. “How is this going to affect those in the hospital? How it's gonna affect elderly that are at home and that need electricity to go on?”

Toledo said her brother told her generators have been sold out since last week and stores he went to in the north area have run out of water.

Tina Colon, a teacher at Paraiso Infantil, also has family members in Puerto Rico including an 87 year old mother. One of her sisters lives in Miami.

“I’m worried because we have a family chat and we were talking last night, and actually this morning, but after like 2:00 I haven’t gotten any chats from them,” Colon said.

She said her family planned to stay put until the storm passed through the area.

“I hope that we’re able to recover,” Toledo said. “We just need to be united in everything that’s going on because it's not only Houston, it's now Puerto Rico, it's Florida. Today its them, tomorrow it might be us.”