Family Hid in Attic for 14 Hours During Hurricane Ian, Evacuated by Small Boat
FORT MYERS, FL - Our coverage of Hurricane Ian's aftermath continues. Our crew spoke with a family who hid in their attic for 14 hours during the storm. They watched the water rise almost too close.
“This is my SOS if I get washed away to sea, almost had to activate that,” said Mark LaFave, better known as “Tunes”. He is from the Marquette area and describes himself as a true Yooper. He shows us his property in Fort Myers. At least, what's left of it.
“This is the fence with 15-thousand [inaudible] eight thousand penny ring nails and a lot of blood sweat and tears,” said Tunes. “That was pretty much knocked down by the tidal wave. It held up with the winds but the wave took it out.”
Things here and there washed up in his yard, including this boat and the water destroyed his makeshift stage.
“It weighs thousands of pounds,” said Tunes. “These red pieces fit together to make a beautiful stage. I anticipate I'll be able to recover them and rebuild the stage.”
He's never met an open mic he didn't like. Playing music means a lot to him, but the storm also impacted that.
And inside the house, you can see a water line on the walls, about 5’6” high.
“The water stayed here, many hours,” said Tunes. “If you peak around the corner here, we spent 14 hours in that little attic and the water went all the way to the second to last step, a critical moment and stopped about here for ten hours.”
There are a few things that were left undamaged, but mostly all that's left is mud. After the storm his family used a dingy to evacuate. That same dingy is from a boat he would sail around the Great Lakes in. Now, he's concerned about what it will take to rebuild his home he put so much of his own work into.
“I worked for over ten years 7 days a week to buy the property and I don't know if there's enough in me to go through the level of physical exertion,” said Tunes.
But he hopes to get back his home as it once was and he's already starting to put the pieces back together again.
"First part to recovery is getting our bird up," said Tunes hanging a wall decoration.
Tunes thanks Marquette friends and Fort Myers locals for helping his family find a place to stay after the storm. Tunes said he was homeless for almost two weeks after the storm.