ST. CLOUD - Central Minnesotans who have retirement homes in Florida are scrambling to get down there to assess the damage from Hurricane Irma for themselves.

Andy Fritz of St. Cloud just built a house in Naples. He says its been a challenge to get information, and he's been able to have just one brief conversation with his caretaker so far.

He told me that he actually had been over to our home.  It looks relatively in tact.  We've got some damage, but overall we were pretty lucky.


Fritz says the caretaker told him his house is still standing and they don't have any water inside. He says there are trees down in his yard, and the pool enclosure suffered some major damage. But, he says it sounds like he's lucky compared to other homeowners.

He says he tried to drive there on Monday, but Atlanta is about as far south as you can get.

Highway 75 is the main artery in and out of the east side of Naples, and that is absolutely clogged with people trying to do the same thing we are, trying to get down there.  So that's a parking lot.  The airport just opened yesterday (Tuesday), so there are some limited flights going in and out.


Fritz says flights are almost completely booked though. He's hoping to get a flight down there for late this weekend or early next week.

He says a lack of gasoline is a huge issue on the west coast of Florida. There's no power yet, and virtually no cellphone or email service available.

Hurricane Irma had winds gusts up to 142 miles an hour, with sustained winds of 110 miles an hour as it moved over Naples.

Powerful Hurricane Irma Slams Into Florida
Getty Images