Around 35 people had been confirmed dead in Lee County by Saturday, October 1, officials said, after Hurricane Ian caused major devastation in Florida.
In a video posted to Facebook, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno provided an updated death toll and said emergency efforts were continuing.
“Today, we’ve had over 600 to 700 rescues of people that are in need during this difficult time,” Marceno said, “With about 35 deaths, unfortunately.”
Marceno said he was working to release information about those killed and but said the sheriff’s office was following a lengthy process of notifying next of kin. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office via Storyful
CARMINE MARCENO: Good morning, Lee County, Florida, Sheriff Carmine Marceno. I'm trying to get you information as soon as I can. I'm here at the Emergency Operations Center. And there are those that are wondering about their loved ones, their friends, and family. I'm here to tell you today as much information as I possibly can as quick as possible.
Today, we've had over 600 to 700 rescues of people that are in need during this difficult time. We've had about 35 deaths, unfortunately. It's with a heavy heart that I say that number. I want to release the information of the deceased as soon as I can, but there's a process, next of kin and family members, that have to be notified the proper way rather than through a stranger or someone that just gives them information. But as soon as I can get that information to you, I will.
I want to talk about our county as a whole. After taking this devastating hit, people from all over the state have come together, everyone from our Governor Ron DeSantis to CFO Jimmy Patronis, our attorney general, sheriffs all over the state have given manpower to us here in Lee County. And what a blessing that is.
We're out in full force. FP&L has done a great job. They're working around the clock to bring you back the power you need to have air conditioning and to have your homes with lights on and to get back to somewhat of normalcy.
I will also tell you that our rescue teams are out here as we speak. At every level, the EOC is working from solid waste, FPL, FEMA, all hands on deck, Lee County. Last night at about 11:00 PM, I sat down for five minutes without anyone talking to me and just sat there by myself, thinking about the devastation, looking through pictures. And I'll tell you, it brought tears to my eyes.
You want to fix everything in one second. And that's not the case. You want to press a button and make this all go away and make it great for everybody as I look through clothing and complete devastation at different areas and bridges torn up. But there's light at the end of the tunnel.
We are going to work harder. And we are going to be stronger than ever. And I ask of you to be part of this team. We are one big family together. That's what makes us great. And sometimes these horrific events bring us all together for us to move forward.
In closing, we're going to give this our all every single day. And we will be stronger than ever, thanks to you, the great residents of this state and Lee County, thanks to everyone here that's here, making that happen. I will keep bringing these updates as soon as I can to make sure you get information as fast as possible as fast as I can give it transparently.
God bless you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. And most importantly, full speed ahead, and god bless America.