The city of Fort Myers Beach, on Florida’s southwest coast, was devastated by Hurricane Ian, a local politician said Thursday afternoon.
“I went about two-thirds of the way around the island and I’d say 90 percent of the island is pretty much gone,” Fort Myers Beach Councilman Dan Allers told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Unless you have a high-rise condo or a newer concrete home that’s built to the same standards today, your home is pretty much gone.”
The city, with a population of about 5,600 people, is located on Estero Island in the Gulf of Mexico.
Many people struggled to reach higher ground amid the storm surge, Allers said.
“I’ve heard stories of people getting into freezers and floating them to another house … and being rescued by higher houses,” Allers said.
Instead of where the houses used to be, there is only rubble, the councilor said.
“Virtually all the beach houses are gone,” Allers said. “Some of the houses on the side streets are completely gone and there is nothing but a hole with water,” he said.
Allers, who evacuated to higher ground during the storm, later discovered his own home was lost.
“Obviously everything inside was gone,” he said, although the structure survived. “We may be able to rebuild,” he added.