Dramatic video emerged on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian pummeled Fort Myers in Florida.
"When the storm came ashore on September 28, it decimated neighborhoods with Category 4 winds and brought a destructive storm surge that submerged city blocks in Lee County," the Miami New Times reported Wednesday. "According to Lee County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Anita Iriarte, the sheriff's office declined to evacuate inmates from its 457-bed downtown Fort Myers jail as Hurricane Ian neared Category 5 status and closed in on the area."
The jail is run by Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
"Lee County's own map indicates that the jail is in a mandatory evacuation zone. In advance of the storm's arrival, the National Hurricane Center's forecast suggested that downtown Fort Myers would face the threat of a storm surge of 9 feet or more," the New Times reported.
The sheriff's office said the inmates were safe on Wednesday afternoon.
"Footage of Edison Bank in Fort Myers, roughly two blocks from the river and about a half-mile away from the jail, showed a downtown block inundated with flood waters around 3:45 p.m. The water in one neighborhood in the downtown district reportedly rose to four-feet deep by 4:30 p.m.," the weekly reported.
The New Times listed examples of inmates being left behind during hurricanes in Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
Read the full report.