FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. – Florida residents are still recovering from Hurricane Ian. The storm left behind severe damage to the sunshine state. We spoke with a couple who said if they didn’t leave their home, the storm could’ve killed them.
This is video taken from inside an ambulance. It was one mode of transportation to help evacuate people who live on Fort Myers Beach, an area where Hurricane Ian hit hard.
“At no time we felt our lives were in jeopardy but it was still scary,” said Anthony Bernabei and Stacey Beerman.
Bernabei is from the Detroit area and Beerman is from Marquette, Michigan. They just moved into their apartment on Fort Myers Beach in January. But the couple, and their cat, Gracie, evacuated to a friends condo during the storm. Even though they were further away from the beach, the storm caused issues for them.
“Never at any moment did we feel unsafe until the water rose up to the balcony and then we had to go to the balcony upstairs,” recalled Bernabei.
And when they did get a chance to return home:
“It was kind of surreal to see the damage, our walls were just blown out, the windows, our couch was down the street,” said Bernabei.
“I don’t even know where half our furniture went,” added Beerman.
“It was completely dry at that point but it was muddy and everything was everywhere,” said Bernabei.
“The lady that lives upstairs from me has about six to eight inches of water and we ended up with a boat in our backyard, we don’t even live on a canal,” said Beerman.
They were able to recover just a handful of things.
“Pretty much just clothes, dirty clothes,” said Bernabei.
“My mom’s ashes,” said Beerman. “Some jewelry, some family heirlooms are gone.”
They’re waiting for FEMA inspectors to finish assessing their home. Until then, they’re staying with family.
“We lost a lot of things but we have family and great friends and all you can do is just move forward,” said Beerman. “It’s just gonna take a little time.”