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Alachua County Fire Rescue travels south to help after Ian

On Friday, the Alachua County Fire Department sent several specialized units to assist in the damage throughout central and southwest Florida. Fire Rescue Chief Harold Theus explained that 14 local firefighters will be sent to these counties. The fire rescue team also partnered with the National Guard to send two full semi-trucks of water and MRE’s (meals-ready-to-eat) to Lee County.

Throughout the state, over 80 people have died from the storm. Over a thousand people were displaced from their homes throughout southwest and central Florida.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno reported 35 deaths throughout the county. 70 percent of residents are still without electricity. Areas throughout the county are expected to be uninhabitable for an extended period of time.

Alachua County dispatched two medical support unit buses to assist in evacuating residents and transporting them to local hospitals. Each bus holds up to 20 people.

Radio communication towers will be set up throughout decimated areas of Orlando as part of a search and rescue task force. Alachua County’s engine crew (firefighters working with specialized equipment) joined four other counties in the trip to Orlando. A drone crew will be flying aerial missions to do damage assessments.

Nearby Bradford County assisted in the evacuation efforts by sending several firefighters to Fort Myers. Theus explained that firefighters often spend up to nine days assisting in these counties.

Tyler is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing Follow him on Twitter @tylercarmona.