COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, families in southwestern Florida don’t know what they’re going to find when they return to their homes. That’s the exact situation Todd Wolford and his family are in.
“It’s rough, I mean the whole area is devastated,” said Wolford.
Wolford is referring to the area of Fort Myers Beach, where he used to live, which has suffered some of the worst damage from Ian. He and his family now live a little north in Cape Coral.
“What we’re hearing, what I’m seeing trying to reach out to people, it’s pretty bad,” he said.
Wolford grew up in Columbus and used to live in Pataskala. He moved to Florida with his family a little more than a year ago.
“We were going to ride it out and I’m glad we didn’t because as I’m sure you’ve seen, Lee County got hit really bad,” he said. “It was huge. I’ve got kids and a wife, can’t protect them in the middle of a hurricane so we decided to flee.”
They evacuated to Fort Lauderdale before Ian hit. Even there, Wolford said it was scary as they lost power at their hotel and were under tornado warnings a few times. They are going back to Cape Coral on Friday. Wolford said his neighbors have told him there’s damage to the roof and well.
“What am I going to see, what are we going to do, some things we take for granted,” he said.
Others are also going into storm ravaged areas. Some are going back to their homes like the Wolfords. Some are going for search and rescue efforts, like Ohio Task Force 1.
“Feel sympathy for them and we’re trying to just do the best we can to help them out whenever we get on scene,” said Ryan Hogsten, Task Force Leader with Ohio Task Force 1, as the team was on its way down to Florida.