NAPLES, Fla. – A couple came face-to-face with the fury of Hurricane Ian when water burst through the door of their condominium building in Naples.
Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds. It first came ashore on Cayo Costa island, and then slammed into Punta Gorda on the Florida mainland about 90 minutes later.
About 70 miles south, in Naples, Florida, Radu and Alexis Marginean were hunkering down during the storm. The Tampa couple said they had evacuated to Naples when it appeared that Tampa was in Ian’s crosshairs. As the track steadily shifted south they decided to ride out the storm in Naples.
Radu Marginean told FOX Weather on Saturday that fire alarms began blaring in their building at the height of the storm. He had heard on the radio that there was a fire in Naples and that the fire station was underwater, so he went downstairs to check things out.
"I just wanted to go see if the fire was in our building," he said.
When he got to the first floor, he quickly realized how bad things really were. Water, presumably from the massive storm surge pushed ashore by Hurricane Ian, crashed through the exit door and rushed into the building.
"I thought that I was going to die, because I got completely submerged underwater," he said.
Soaking wet, he clung to the stairwell railing and was eventually able to pull himself up the stairs and out of the water.
"I was slipping everywhere, on all the steps," he said.
Alexis Marginean said first floor of their building was destroyed, and the beach just outside their building was obliterated.
"We had a whole line of mangroves on the beach that were completely destroyed and pulled out from their roots, and that is just something you really can’t replace," Alexis Marginean said.
The couple said they are going on their fourth day without power. About 35% of customers in Collier County, where Naples is located, are still without electricity, according to PowerOutage.us.