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Missouri Task Force continues to go house to house in Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Missouri Task Force continues to go house to house in Fort Myers Beach, Florida

This is hurricane-damaged Fort Myers Beach, Florida (October 4, 2022 photo courtesy of Columbia-based Missouri Task Force One)

The sheriff in Fort Myers, Florida says his deputies are tiring from Hurricane Ian, with no end in sight. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno tells the “Fort Myers News-Press” that his crews have assisted with 842 rescues and have recovered 55 bodies, thus far.

Meantime, a 55-member team from Columbia-based Missouri Task Force One (MO-TF1) is assisting in Fort Myers Beach, going house to house and structure by structure searching for survivors and victims. Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Gale Blomenkamp tells 939 the Eagle that the team is seeing total devastation.

“You know our task force leader that took the team down there this time has been on multiple task force deployments throughout the country on different types of events. And he said yesterday that this is some of the worst damage he’s ever seen,” Blomenkamp says.

Another photo of Hurricane Ian’s devastation in Fort Myers Beach, Florida (October 4, 2022 photo courtesy of Columbia-based Missouri Task Force One)

Missouri Task Force One also has a four-member drone team on nearby San Carlos Island. They’ve used drones and infrared cameras to search the inside of several hundred boats.

“While they were there, they were searching over 300 shrimp boats, pleasure boats and sailboats that literally had been pushed into yards, pushed into houses and were into the mangroves,” says Blomenkamp.

He says Missouri Task Force One’s drones searched every boat, using infrared cameras and zoom functions. Due to their work, the Fort Myers port authority has verified that all boat captains and crews are accounted for on the boats searched by Task Force One.