Miami-Dade Task Force Gears Up to Help Michael Victims

Just days after returning from helping the victims of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Florida Task Force 1 is in Panama City to aid the victims of Hurricane Michael.

"Everybody on this team at their core just wants to help," said Captain Tony Trim of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

The team of 80 men and women will search for missing people and assist with rescue efforts. The group just returned from helping the victims of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, but quickly jumped into action to bring much-needed relief to the victims of Hurricane Michael.

"In anticipation of loss of power, loss of communication, loss of all of the essentials, we go out the door prepared," Trim said.

The devastation Michael left is widespread. No property was left undamaged after the hurricane made landfall as a monstrous Category 4 storm.

Cas and Desiree Gant lived in South Florida during Hurricane Andrew — and can't believe they are reliving the same nightmare in Panama City.

"I don't think it really has sunk in to us, but when we came out it looked like a bomb. Just like Andrew did," Desiree Gant said.

Hurricane Andrew was a Category 5 when it hit the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana in 1992. Hurricane Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years, has claimed at least six lives.

"Our French doors blew open and we did all we could to just hold that closed," Cas Gant said. "We spent two and a half hours or more just holding the windows."

Hurricane Michael left destruction and despair, but also gratitude for the gift of life.

"I thought I was gonna die," Noemi Rivera said. "Thank God I'm alive and my husband and my dog."

The rebuilding process is only beginning, but the good news for the residents of Panama City is that there are so many teams who have quickly mobilized to help and bring hope.

One way to help people affected by Hurricane Michael is by donating to the Red Cross. Find more information on how to donate here.

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