NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — First responders in North Port, one of the areas seeing significant impacts from Hurricane Ian, have a message for residents: Do not leave your home yet.
North Port Fire Chief Scott Titus spoke with WFLA’s Beth Rousseau Thursday morning and said crews have not yet been able to fully assess the damage the storm left behind.
Titus said after the winds from the storm died down, tactical teams went out to try and clear some of the main roads in the city so crews could start emergency responses and damage assessments. After just a couple of hours, however, the teams had to get off the roads.
“Crews were finding, nearly on all of our roadways, three [to] four feet of water,” Titus said. “Most of our main arterials are impassable so after they were out for two hours last night, we actually pulled crews back in – it was too dangerous for them to stay out. There’s lots of powerlines down, trees, things like that.”
Before they returned, the crews were able to save some residents who were trapped in their home by water.
“We did have some reports of people trapped in homes that had moved to the upper levels of their homes because the water was so high, and we evacuated them,” he said. “We tried to do that, we got them to safe shelter, before we ended up going back to quarters.”
Titus said there’s still a queue of 911 calls waiting for first responders, which is why he’s asking residents to just stay home for the time being.
“So we’re kind of asking the community to stay put. Don’t go out this morning,” he said. “We still need to go out and clear the roadways and find out – there are a lot of roads that are going to be impassable. High water levels – we’re asking folks not to drive into that.”