Despite devastation in her own area, Naples, Florida, Mayor Teresa Heitmann told Newsmax on Thursday morning that her city was offering to help areas affected even more severely by Hurricane Ian.
Heitmann appeared on "National Report" to give an update on her Collier County city and other southwest Florida areas pulverized by Ian.
"Right now, we are assessing the damage," Heitmann told co-hosts Shaun Kraisman and Emma Rechenberg. "We still have a curfew until 12 o'clock noon. We have a devastation, and it's still unknown.
"But we're certainly not as bad as up in Fort Myers [in Lee County]. They're without water. In fact, we might be receiving some patients to our Naples community hospital to try to help them out."
Heitmann was asked about Naples firefighters who, on video, were seen walking in chest-high deep water while trying to salvage equipment at their fire station.
"We have a Category 5 building which will protect us from the winds but unfortunately doesn't protect you from flooding," Heitmann said. "When the bay and the beach met, the water was coming in fast and furious — I mean, fast and furious."
The mayor added that water had receded, and first responders were in the process of trying to assist residents, including some people who attempted to kayak and swim in the angry waters.
Heitmann, who said her city offices had no air conditioning despite the presence of a generator, added that the city's hospital had "some flooding" and the school system "will be assessing" damage. She also said that the town's cable television network was down, so communicating with residents was difficult.
"Texts are working, so hopefully people can reach others that way," she told Newsmax. "Our water and sewer are up and running. "[The scene] went from a concern to complete, horrible devastation."
Kraisman asked Heitmann if she could offer any information regarding a report that the Lee County sheriff said the storm's death toll could be in the hundreds, with thousands needing to be rescued.
"I do not [have anything to add] because we are still trying to reach out to the city and to our county residents to find out how they're doing," she said, "although the Fort Myers commissioner reached out to me, and we're going to try to stay in communication and do frequent updates so that we have regional communications."
Heitmann implored Naples residents to remain where they are "until we give the coast is clear. There's no reason to come back into harm's way when you don't have electricity."
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