COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Cleanup continues in Florida, especially in the southwestern portion of the state, where Hurricane Ian left behind some of the worst damage.
Some families with ties to central Ohio are trying to figure out their next steps after riding out the storm.
At this point, the Federico family and all the others in similar situations don’t know exactly where the road is going to take them.
All members of the Federico family are safe after what were some scary days last week.
Lisa Federico grew up in Ohio and has a sister who still lives in central Ohio. Federico stayed with her parents at their condominium in Naples, Florida, just south of where Ian made landfall in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.
“It’s all the way across the street to the bay here,” she said. “It’s all water.”
Pictures of the aftermath at the condo building show debris pushed through the ground floor, cars shoved into one another, and the parking lot completely filled with water, making it unsafe for anyone to be inside.
“I saw cars and dumpsters floating down the street and that’s when I started to get freaked out and thought, ‘This might be it,'” Federico said. “Because I knew that no one could come to get us to get out at that point.”
Federico and her parents were on the fourth floor as Ian hit. The condo itself is OK, but Federico said every building’s ground floor in the area has been damaged to some extend and all the utilities remain off.
By the time there was an evacuation ordered, Federico said it was too late to get the transportation needed for her 83-year-old father. Federico’s parents Frank and Valerie have owned the condo since the 1980s.
“It sounded literally like a freight train for about 24 hours straight without stopping,” she said. “The wind was whipping and blowing and the shutters shaking and there was times, too, we were sitting there and could kind of feel the building shake a little bit.”
The Federicos, who all went to Ohio State University, got help out of the condo Thursday.
“The road was barely drivable,” she said. “Just driving up the road and seeing the devastation on the coast was just, it looked like a war zone.”
Federico said her heart goes out to all the other people who were hit harder than her family.
“That’s all you think about,” she said. “Our family stuck together. Everybody helped out. We’re helping neighbors, friends, doing a lot of cleanup these last few days, and it’s going to keep going, but everybody is pulling together.”
Federico’s parents are staying with other family members in Florida right now. She said they won’t be able to go back to their home until FEMA and structural engineers determined what needs to be done to secure the building.
To help the victims of Hurricane Ian, click here.