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'Out of their mind:' Fire chief implores people to stay off the roads

tracy mcmillion ian
Posted at 3:01 AM, Sep 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 03:01:22-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tracy McMillion doesn't mince words.

The Fort Myers fire chief has taken to social media several times since Wednesday, when Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida, to stress the importance of keeping civilians off the roadways in the immediate hours following impact.

McMillion recorded a message to the city's official Facebook account Wednesday night, explaining how conditions are extremely hazardous for people to be driving anywhere.

From unseen water hazards, to downed power lines that could still be live, to any number of debris impasses and damage, "there is a curfew going on," McMillion said, "and we can't have people out trying to assess the damage. That is our job."

McMillion added, "Help us out, don't go out."

Within the same hour that the prerecorded plea was posted, the fire chief posted a video to his own account — with a distinctly stronger tone.

"We got cars driving in the street like they're out of their mind," he said in the 16-second post.

"Stay home."

Lee County leaders said in a Wednesday night briefing that looting had already been reported at a convenience store off Cleveland Ave., which in part prompted the county-wide curfew, which remains in effect until further notice.

They added that based on initial information, the damage caused by Ian has left the community "decimated."