After a few days of silence and no access to communication with the outside world, Brian “Hoss” Coddens, a former Old Orchard Beach restaurant owner, called to say he and his wife, Deena “Mary” Eskew, survived Hurricane Irma in Key West, Florida.

In a brief telephone call Tuesday morning to the Portland Press Herald, Coddens said he and his wife managed to survive the storm that devastated the Florida Keys.

Only one phone is functional on Key West, Coddens said. Power, water and cellphone service all are out, with no word on when they might be restored. He said he waited four hours in line to use the island’s one working phone, in a furniture store.

Details about conditions in the Keys have begun to emerge since the Category 4 hurricane went through much of Florida over the weekend, leaving widespread damage in its wake. The eye of the storm passed over Cudjoe Key, near the middle of the string of islands and about 20 miles from Key West on Friday. In addition to high winds, a storm surge swamped most of the islands and access has been hindered by flooding over Route 1, the Overseas Highway that connects the Keys to the mainland.

Reports indicate possibly a quarter of the homes on Key West were destroyed by the storm and the island had no power or water supply on Tuesday.

Coddens had last posted on the Hoss and Mary’s Facebook page Saturday, expressing concern about the couple’s decision to stay, and the impending danger from the storm.

“I can only speak for myself, but I am as scared as I’ve been in my life, I’m sure she is too. We have made our bed, we WILL NOT lie down for this storm, literally and figuratively,” he wrote. “I’ll try to do at least one more live video, but, such is life, we shall see. We hope to feed you again someday. Thank you for everything.”

Dozens of worried friends and fans from Maine posted on their page throughout the weekend and on Monday, asking about their situation and whether they were safe, but received no answer to their online queries because the island had lost power.

Coddens said the couple did not evacuate Key West despite an evacuation order because they relied on earlier forecasts that called for the storm to turn north and head up the east coast of the state, away from the Keys. After the forecasts changed and called for the hurricane to strike the Keys before heading north along the state’s west coast, Coddens felt it was too late to safely leave the island.

The couple stayed with a woman they know on the island who is originally from Kennebunkport. Coddens said her house was one of the few that remained above floodwater in a previous hurricane.

Coddens and Eskew operated Hoss and Mary’s Tasty Grub, a Key West-themed restaurant in Old Orchard Beach from 2008 to 2015, when they closed it to return to Key West, where they had first met.

This summer, they opened a food truck in Key West operating under the same name.

About 15 million people – three-quarters of the state – remained without power Tuesday, the federal Department of Homeland Security said, although that number is dropping as utility crews fan out across the state.

The Navy has diverted an aircraft carrier to the area to assess damage and ferry supplies to the island by helicopter.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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