NewsLocal NewsLee County


Property owners on FMB continue to pick up the pieces as more aid is requested

Posted at 9:50 PM, Oct 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 04:31:35-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The mayor of Fort Myers Beach updating cleanup efforts a little more than one week after property owners were allowed to return and assess damage.

In that time, homeowners and business owners have returned to the beach picking up as much of their lives as they can.

"It’s just been an experience I never want to go through again.”

Throughout Fort Myers Beach, people’s homes have been turned inside out. As belongings now sit at the curb, tarnished and ruined from Hurricane Ian.

“We put a lot of time and work into the home," says Joyce and Daniel Piec, homeowners on Fort Myers Beach. "It was going to be our retirement happy place and now we’ve got to rebuild.”

The Piecs were in Michigan when Hurricane Ian brought the Gulf of Mexico into their home.

“I think we were just shy of two inches from hitting the ceiling," said Daniel. "Once we ripped the drywall off the ceiling, the insulation above it was dry. Probably almost 8 feet of water in the home.”

The impact from the storm leaving homeowners like Joyce and Daniel trying to pick up the pieces. Some pieces more heavy than others…

"Our pool was covered with the Hooters restaurant," laughs Joyce. "The restroom of Hooters was in our pool.”

A laugh, for relief, as help hasn’t been too far to find.

“The pool was full of debris," said Sabrina and Anthony Gangale. "It literally- the Hooters bathroom was in their pool. The walls, the urinals, the toilets- everything from the bathroom was in their pool.”

Sabrina and Anthony Gangale are the owners of Tree Monkeys, Inc. based out of Orlando, now here in Southwest Florida.

"They were driving by and said, ‘Do you need help with anything?’" said Daniel Piec. "And my wife and I asked if they could clean out pools.”

They did just that.

"This is like picking up people’s lives," said Sabrina Gangale. "It’s hard to pick up people’s lives. It’s just really emotional.”

Picking up the pieces while rebuilding their retirement dream as hopes are on the horizon.

"That’s what we’re hoping for- is water and electric," said Joyce. "That’s what we need now.”