BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Bristol Motor Speedway will open one of its campgrounds for those fleeing Hurricane Dorian.
BMS officials said the Medallion Campground off Highway 394 officially opened for evacuees at noon on Tuesday.
Christopher J Harrington, 65, is one of the millions across four southeastern states who’ve been ordered to evacuate.
He was the first to arrive on the BMS campground.
“I’ve been through a couple of hurricanes as a kid in the Northeast. I don’t want to be even near one ever again,” said Harrington.
Harrington is from Plymouth, Massachusetts but he lives out of his trailer on the barrier island of Melbourne, Florida for months at a time.
He said finding a campground closer to Melbourne wasn’t easy. “Oh my god, when I left Saturday morning, I stopped at four places off the highway and they said ‘we’re all full because of the holiday weekend,'” Harrington said. “So I just said ‘let’s try the speedway.'”
Harrington was shocked to find out he could stay at the campground for free. “I went, ‘you’ve got to be kidding.'”
BMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell said, “Our belief is these folks have been displaced, they’re going through a hard time and if we can help them out a little bit that’s what we want to do.”
Caldwell said the campground can fit a couple hundred RV’s, though it’s still unclear how many evacuees will come.
For now, Harrington said he’s grateful and eager to return the favor. “They’ve got a favorite charity and I’m going to send that charity a check when I get paid and get back to Melbourne.”
Evacuees and those interested in assisting evacuees can call 866.415.4158 for more information.