Down but not out: Local plumber vows to rebuild business stronger than ever after Hurricane Ian
Plumber David Drumm documented surviving Hurricane Ian on TikTok
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. – Cleanup efforts are continuing across Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian, and as business owners slowly return to areas hard-hit by the deadly storm, they're vowing to build back stronger and better than ever.
FOX Weather multimedia journalist Brandy Campbell spoke with a local plumber that lost everything during the hurricane, but he's already starting to pick up the pieces to try and get back to normal.
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"We were in the middle of the ocean," David Drumm said. "It wasn't one big wave. It just kept rising."
Drumm survived Hurricane Ian with his family as the monster storm washed away parts of Fort Myers Beach and documented his experience on TikTok.
"I didn't realize that I had more than 2 million people watching, concerned," he said. "I had tens of thousands of messages from people worried about me and anxious for me to report back."
Now he's in recovery mode and working on repairing his home, which doubles as a base for his business – Reflow Plumbing.
"But now it's all gone," he said. "Every last bit of it. Every truck. Every fitting. Every part. Every tool. Everything is gone, but it's replaceable."
And now, almost three weeks after Hurricane Ian, he's already purchased one truck. With insurance, savings and community support, he said he's confident in a comeback.
"We're making plans for our big jobs on Monday and big jobs on Tuesday," Drumm said.
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But it might not be so attainable for everyone.
"Local hardware stores, local restaurants, and so on and so forth," he said. "I know all these people. They're all my friends. And some of them are really in rough shape. Wondering if they can rebuild. Not whether they want to rebuild, but whether they can rebuild."
And because these businesses have been heavily affected, employees are also struggling.
Relief funds have been set up for people affected by Hurricane Ian, and thousands of dollars have been raised that will go to employees who have lost their homes, cars and jobs.