The family shared in an interview with NBC that they lost "everything" when the foundation of their home gave way under the harrowing storm surge.
After Hurricane Ian devastated Florida this week, families there are still picking up the pieces. More than a dozen people were killed, homes were wrecked, streets flooded, and millions lost electricity when Ian, a Category 4 storm, made landfall on Florida's west coast on Wednesday afternoon. One such family shared in an interview with NBC that they lost "everything" when the foundation of their home gave way under the harrowing storm surge. The Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Gutierrez family recorded an elaborate video of the storm's destruction at their home, displaying their possessions, tables, and furniture tossed around in high, muddy flood waters.
The family's mother, Maribel Gutierrez, said that as they fled their home during the fierce hurricane in search of higher ground, she, her husband, and their four children clasped hands in a chain. She claimed that they were forced to escape when they felt their house's foundation shift and the walls begin to tumble down. “We were calm in our house until 1 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m., more or less, we came out,” she said.
She remembered how the family was met with roaring winds and three to four feet of water when they opened their door. “We ran out — my children and I holding hands — and we came to a house that has a second floor and a laundry [area],” she said. “The water, we were being moved left and right, and we sometimes lost our grip but we were able to grab onto each other once again,” Maribel said. “And we got to that, thank God, two-story structure and we went to a laundry and we were there for five hours with panic because the water kept coming up and kept coming up.”
"Mommy, don't let me die": Florida family recounts escaping their Fort Myers Beach home during Hurricane Ian. https://t.co/6aKl0NKJ70 pic.twitter.com/WWvkfS0J4Q— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 30, 2022
She shared that while they waited for the storm to pass, she and her family members sobbed. “It was really really ugly, so horrible. The house almost fell. It opened up, the foundation almost came up, it all got destroyed and cut,” Maribel said. “We lost everything. We’re left with not one single thing.”
Maribel recalls her son crying and screaming during the hurricane, pleading with her, "Mommy, don't let me die." Liliana Gutierrez, her daughter, said she had to “focus on where we had to go” and “not think about what was around" as the family ventured outside into the hurricane. At one time, Liliana admitted, she feared the worst, but she had to gather herself and get through it.
“We’re left with not one single thing.” Hurricane Ian cost the Gutierrez family of Fort Myers Beach, Florida all they owned. They talk with @jdbalart about what they went through when the storm hit their community.@MSNBC https://t.co/VjnIjnW6c7— José Díaz-Balart Reports (@JDBalartMSNBC) September 30, 2022
Maribel remarked that despite the terrible loss, "God protected us." The family is sleeping at a friend's residence, which was also harmed by the storm, is still without power, and had its windows blown out. Since the hurricane is still expected to make landfall in South Carolina on Friday, Ian's path of destruction is far from over.
This is a developing story, and we’ll update you as we learn more. Information about Hurricane Ian is swiftly changing, and WomenWorking is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency of developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. You can get official alerts and updates on Hurricane Ian from the National Hurricane Center.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | MSNBC