ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Greg Anarino said he was trapped in Sanibel, a barrier island in Lee County that no longer has a causeway to get to the mainland, for two days — until he was rescued on Friday.
Anarino said he had lived there for three decades when Hurricane Ian’s wind and storm surge threatened to kill him and his pets. Rescuers took him to Bonita Springs.
”A tornado hit the top of my house. I was with these cats in the back bedroom, and I actually saw the roof lift off, and then 10 feet of water came in,” Anarino said. “The only thing I have left is my three cats ... and whatever I have left that’s on my suitcase.”
The hurricane decimated a three-story home near the former Sanibel Causeway. Another home lost its walls and windows. A man who returned to check on his home found his neighbor’s truck and a staircase had washed away.
There have been at least 21 hurricane-related deaths in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Friday afternoon during a news conference in St. Augustine that emergency response experts expect the first 10 days after Hurricane Ian’s landfall to be deadly.
“Just because the storm has passed don’t think that there aren’t hazards there,” DeSantis said referring to threats such as live power lines and gas leaks.
The hurricane’s storm surge pushed through buildings and homes and tossed around cars, trucks, recreational vehicles, houseboats, yachts, and almost everything in its way.
Older homes, DeSantis said, “just washed into the ocean.”
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno rode a helicopter with DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis. He also toured Fort Myers Beach Times Square with Reporter Annaliese Garcia.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Marceno told Garcia.
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Today, Sheriff Marceno briefed state leaders & toured more areas damaged by Hurricane Ian. We are grateful for their support, and activation of multiple assets to help our county. We will stand by you as we recover from this tragic storm together. pic.twitter.com/cip2t2BJv2— Carmine Marceno - Florida’s Law and Order Sheriff (@SheriffLeeFL) October 1, 2022
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