How these trees became charging stations for cell phones after Hurricane Irma

Homestead City Hall was more than just governmental building Monday afternoon — it became a charging station.

With more than 80 percent of the city’s residents still without power post Hurricane Irma, about 100 people lounged outside city hall to charge their mobile devices.

Many brought extension cords and a lot of patience, said Juan Carlos Lopez, as he leaned against a palm tree.

“There’s no light at home and we remembered that these trees have outdoor power plugs. The foot traffic here has been incredible since the curfew was lifted at 7 a.m.,” Lopez said. “I had to run to get me a spot.”

Last year, Homestead debuted its $26 million city hall, a building built to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds. At the main entrance are two rows of about two dozen palm trees. In total there are about 56 electrical outlets.


About 100 people stood outside Homestead city hall Monday afternoon to charge their phones at several outdoor electrical outlets post Hurricane Irma.

Monique O. Madan

“Now I know why people nicknamed it the Taj Mahal of Homestead,” David Perez, 50 said. “Palaces need lots of power plugs.”

Fernando Perez, 42, who accompanied a friend to charge up his tablet, told the Miami Herald that having a charged cell phone is nice but that there are other things on his mind.

“Irma could have destroyed us. Could have killed my family,” Perez said. “But it veered west and I feel victorious to be alive.”