ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Former KMOX producer and St. Louis native David Belleville started a new job at WBBH-TV in Fort Myers, Florida, last week and right away found himself in the middle of the biggest story in the country: Hurricane Irma.
When KMOX’s Mark Reardon spoke to Belleville on Thursday, the path of the hurricane wasn’t projected to have much of an effect on Fort Myers. But that soon changed.
“At that time when we last talked, it looked like the storm path was going to impact more along the eastern side of Florida,” Belleville said Monday afternoon. “As time went on it started to shift more and more towards the western side of Florida.”
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So where was Belleville when the hurricane hit? “Every employee at our news station was hunkered down for two days covering this storm and living here when they weren’t working. People had their families here. People brought their pets here. We were here for a couple days living here and working here. But I tell you what: It was nice to go home for first time this morning.”
The damage in Fort Myers is still being surveyed and power is out at thousands of homes, but Belleville says they dodged a bullet. “Early forecasts indicated that we might be experiencing a category five hurricane right on top of us. Obviously it weakened as it approached us. And we didn’t experience that widespread catastrophic, unlivable damage that you’ve seen in the Caribbean.”
Belleville says he’s seen plenty of fallen trees and branches that are littering the roads but the emergency crews are out cleaning up and trying to get things back normal as soon possible.
You can listen to Belleville’s interview in its entirety here.