Local disaster aid agency and utility pitch in to help hurricane ravaged Florida Panhandle

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Northeast Indiana is nowhere near the “eye of the storm” of Hurricane Michael, but people from this area are pushing to help those hit hardest hundreds of miles to the south.

At the local Red Cross headquarters, some volunteers have been sent out to North Carolina for the cleanup on Hurricane Florence, while others are looking to a new assignment that looms in Florida.

“Our emergency response vehicles are being pre-inspected, and crews are being located in order to get those mobilized and put down, volunteers are being trained and ready for deployments,” said Francis Sanders with the Red Cross.

Not only disaster relief services are coming from this area, a small army of power crews left Fort Wayne for the Florida Panhandle to deal with whatever electrical outages might be developing.

“We are sending 300 people,” said Tracy Warner with Indiana Michigan Power.

I & M workers and supporting contractors made it down to Alabama Tuesday evening, but now are filtering into Florida.

“They are getting crews in line, getting them nearby, that they can move in after the hurricane is over and they can assess the damage and find out exactly how bad it is,” Warner said.

At Science Central’s “Science on a Sphere” exhibit– a giant globe that shows the movements of weather systems– we caught up with Deb Quilhot, who was letting her grandkids take in the display.

Her husband right now is in North Carolina with a church group cleaning up after Hurricane Florence.

“He’s heard just some terrible stories, and it really pulls at your heartstrings, when you hear about people who have just lost everything,” Quilhot said.

The same kind of disaster is now unfolding, ironically, in the Sunshine State.

Hurricane Michael is the most powerful hurricane ever to strike the Florida Panhandle.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer

Follow Jeff on Twitter at JneumeyerNews

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