Residents relieved: ‘…thankful it wasn’t any worse’
While areas of Southwest Florida continue to face power outages and flooding, Cape Coral residents were picking themselves up Thursday after escaping Hurricane Irma mostly unscathed.
Erma Fickler, who lives off of Triton Court West, sat in her vehicle and waited her turn to fill up her tank at the Shell, at 533 Cape Coral Parkway E. Despite the long line, she had no complaints.
“I’m very thankful,” Fickler said. “We didn’t get the worst.”
She needed gas since she did not have a chance to fill up pre-Irma. Fickler explained that she works for a home care facility in North Fort Myers for those with special needs and she rode out the storm there.
She noted that she lived through Hurricanes Andrew and Charley.
“This is the third for me,” Fickler said.
Following Irma, she was without power for a few days.
“A lot of debris and trees down, a lot of thing to be cleared up outside,” Fickler said.
She called it a miracle that the city was not impacted as bad as was predicted.
“God is with us,” Fickler said.
Residents Michael and Sharon Petyo had planned to hunker down in their home, located in the 5600 block of De Soto Court, but they left with their neighbors when the forecasts began to turn worse.
When they returned home Monday, the couple did not know what to expect.
“We lucked out,” Sharon Petyo said. “We were very fortunate. We’re very grateful.”
Her husband explained there were some shingles missing and screening on the patio cage.
“She was more devastated because her magnolia tree fell over,” he joked.
Their home had sustained no damage.
“We had all the storm shutters up,” she said.
They spent Thursday tidying up their property, like towing bent trees straight using a truck.
“Just cleaning up,” Sharon Petyo said. “Cutting what’s not salvageable.”
While residents worked to put the pieces back together, the Cape helped where it could.
The city has set up potable water stations at Mariner Middle School and the Northwest Regional Library. Open to Lee County residents, the free water is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday.
Potable water can be used for drinking, cooking, bathing, flushing toilets and more.
There is a 10-gallon per day limit per vehicle, and people must bring their own containers.
City employee Hector Rivera was manning the station at the library Thursday.
He estimated that seven or eight people had taken advantage so far.
“Most of them don’t have power, so they don’t have water – they’re on wells,” Rivera said.
He added that they seemed thankful for the stations.
One user was Judy Dana, who lives in LaBelle. She explained that her daughter lives in the Cape and she visited the area to stock up on water and supplies before heading back. Dana still had no power.
“It’s bad,” she said. “The property, the trees.”
“There’s roof damage,” Dana added. “I was terrified.”
Her property suffered heavy flooding.
“It’s receding now,” she said.
Despite the current circumstances, Dana also found herself grateful.
“I’m thankful it wasn’t any worse,” she said.
Mariner Middle School is at 425 Chiquita Blvd. S.
The Northwest Regional Library is at 519 Chiquita Blvd. N.