Good Samaritans help clear out Hurricane Ian debris in Fort Myers

Woman and her family team up to use their tools and high pickup truck to help clear out the streets for first responders.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A woman was on her knees on the side of the road assembling a chainsaw, next to a blue pickup truck with large wheels, on Thursday in Fort Myers.

She was part of a group of good Samaritans, including a man with a machete, who helped to clear out the Hurricane Ian debris, so first responders didn’t have to waste time doing it.

Cars drive on a flooded street caused by Hurricane Ian Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

She said her home was on high ground and didn’t suffer damage, so she and others decided to start with their neighborhood. They stopped when it got too dark.

Lee County has a 6 p.m. curfew. They got back in action early Thursday morning. State officials reported at least seven hurricane-related deaths.

The remnant of a pier is seen in the wake of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Officials said the aftermath efforts focused on rescues and on assessing damage to roads, bridges, and infrastructure.

There were urban search and rescue teams scanning the barrier islands in coordination with Lee County’s Emergency Operations Center. The shelters remained open.

Damaged homes and debris are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno and the Fort Myers Police Department asked anyone who is concerned about their family’s safety in the area to call 239-321-7700.

Safety tips for operating a chainsaw

  • Use proper personal protective equipment
  • Before starting it, check controls, chain tension, and all bolts and handles, and that the oil tank is full
  • Start the saw on the ground or on another firm support and at least 10 feet from the fueling area, with the chain’s brake engaged.
  • Look for nails, spikes, or other metals in the tree before cutting.
Holly Nugyn walks out of her flooded neighborhood after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
  • Shut off the saw or engage its chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.
  • Keep your hands on the saw’s handles, and maintain balance while operating the saw.
  • Be careful that the trunk or tree limbs will not bind against the saw.
  • Watch for branches under tension; they may spring out when cut.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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About the Author:

Jenise Fernandez joined the Local 10 News team in November 2014. She is thrilled to be back home reporting for the station she grew up watching. Jenise, who is from Miami and graduated from Florida International University, also interned at Local 10 while she was in college.