Fire alarms were tripped throughout the morning due to losses in power. Evacuees were already standing in lines that stretched the entire length of the concourse waiting for their breakfast, fruit and struedel, when an automated message blared over the loudspeakers at 7:58 a.m. telling them to report to the nearest exit.
Several walked towards the building's as the fire alarms were sounded. Most stood dumbfounded when they saw Hurricane Wilma's fury unfold through the paned glass doors. Palm trees were bent in the wind and rain had begun to seep under the doors of the arena.
Red Cross volunteers eventually got word spread through the building that the fire alarms were false and caused by a system override. The arena was running on a back up generator by 7:40 a.m., with main arena floor darkened and only the concourse remained lit.
Red Cross shelter manager Xavier Fernandez confirmed a pregnant woman reported contractions around 3 a.m. and was transported by ambulance to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in south Fort Myers.