Former Dayton fire chief recovers in Florida from Hurricane Irma

Former Dayton Fire Chief Ron Fleming and his wife, Jan, pictured in Fort Myers, Fla. (WDTNPhoto/Jan Fleming)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Tropical Storm Irma is covering much of the southeastern United States Monday night, after leaving widespread flooding and damage in its wake. More than 200,000 people are in shelters tonight and others are staying in hotels and with family as they get their first look at Irma’s impact.

Ron and Jan Fleming are relieved after getting back to their home in Ft. Myers, Fla. A tree fell in their backyard, just inches away from falling on their home.

Ron is a former chief for the Dayton Fire Department and Jan is a former staff member at Fairborn City Schools. They have lived in Florida for 4 years and have never experiencing a hurricane. They’re incredibly thankful it wasn’t any worse.

“We just feel,” Fleming said. “So fortunate.”

Fleming and her husband retired Dayton Fire Chief Ron Fleming are one of the lucky ones after discovering minimal damage at their home near Ft. Myers Beach, Fla.

“It was 6 inches from our air conditioner,” Fleming said. “And the roof so we just thank our lucky stars that it didn’t hit the house.”

Hurricane force winds forced a large tree down seen in Fleming’s video. It came inches from hitting their metal roof designed to sustain such damage, but Fleming says she isn’t confident it would have.

“Even though it’s suppose to sustain these things,” Fleming said. “You don’t know how fierce that part of the tree fell.”

In other parts of Florida, flooding is a major issue. Parts of Jacksonville, Florida are being swallowed by water. So far, dozens have been rescued. Officials are now urging people in need of help to place white flags outside their homes.

In the meantime back in Ft. Myers, Fleming says they’re staying with friends as crews worked to get their back on.

“We’re just thankful the best case scenario happened,” Fleming said. “This was our first hurricane and we hope it’s our last.”

No physical damage was done to Fleming’s home, but they have no electricity, water or plumbing. They asked officials when utilities could be turned back on, and they were told they’re not sure.
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