Couple on Sanibel Island floated on a fridge and broke through the ceiling to survive Hurricane Ian — then limped to mainland
Fort Myers in Florida, where Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, took much of the brunt of the storm(AFP)

Help is slowly making its way across Florida after Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 storm. The Fort Myers News-Press told the story of one couple that barely survived while riding out the storm on Sanibel Island, just off the coast of western Florida.

Today was the first day that residents who left the island could come back and survey the damage. One couple who spoke to the paper described a horrifying scene of the couple using their refrigerator to float on the rising flood waters inside their home. Pete Crumpacker and his wife Tina clung to their cat Tilly as they tried to stay alive.

They made it, he said, by “busting through ceiling drywall to access (a) crawl space to breathe while floating on (the) refrigerator,” he wrote on Facebook. “We waited ‘til daybreak and limped our way to (the) bridge unassisted.”

He said that there was no law enforcement in sight from Lee County until he tried to make his way back home. They wouldn't let him in. The Lee County Sheriff's office blamed the Fort Myers Beach Fire District and Town of Fort Myers Beach for "restricting access."

IN OTHER NEWS: Fox News host confronts Herschel Walker with son's claims: 'He's doing tremendous damage to you'

The last photo Crumpacker posted on his Facebook page showed him sitting on top of something level with a ceiling fan and the brown water below. He told friends the water reached " about 20 inches from ceiling before water stopped rising. Stayed there for hours. It was nightmarish."

"I'm just trying to get thru hour by hour making sure (sic) my extended family of 10 have a dry place to rest and food and water," he said responding to questions of how to help. He went on to say that he may move the family for a while, noting his daughter-in-law is six months pregnant with his new grandson.

"I want to make sure she has a healthier environment the next 3 months," he said. Counting his home and his family members, he said three houses, six cars and his boat are all totaled, but "life goes on." The boat, cars and his home were all paid for, he told a friend, saying that they were all denied compensation by State Farm Insurence after the last hurricane, so he didn't buy flood insurance this year.

The insurance costs have been astronomical in Florida, as disasters continue to hit the state and sea levels rise.