Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced on Friday that he is deploying the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force 6 to assist with Tropical Storm Elsa recovery efforts.
In a press release, the CFO signaled the move, adding that the task force will be activated today with swiftwater assets to support North Port Fire Department for a three-day mission to preform evacuations in North Port due to rising water from the storm. Most recently, the unit was deployed to assist with rescue operations following the collapse of Champlain Towers South, a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside.
“We are still continuing to see the effects of Tropical Storm Elsa along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and I am very appreciative of US&R Task Force 6 for stepping up and assisting with recovery efforts,” said Patronis. “These heroes just returned home from search and rescue operations at Surfside and now they are going to North Port to provide marine resources and support the Elsa recovery mission. These dedicated and elite first responders will bring equipment and resources to support Floridians in need, and I cannot thank them enough for their service.”
Patronis, who also doubles as the State Fire Marshal, oversees Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (US&R) teams, which is a multi-agency, multi-discipline search & rescue task force deployed to aid Southwest Florida communities that have been impacted by a natural or man-made disaster.
A weakened Tropical Storm Elsa, which made landfall early Wednesday morning, killed at least one person in Florida and left thousands without power. While the storm spared most of the state, North Port, a city located in Sarasota County, saw ‘concerning levels’ of flooding after Elsa dumped a significant amount of rain in the area. City leaders in North Port are asking hundreds of families to consider evacuating as flood waters continue to rise in parts of the city.
“We’re looking at about upwards of three hundred homes that could potentially see some water intrusion but we don’t know. we don’t have a crystal ball,” said Josh Taylor, spokesperson for the City of North Port.
Patronis, who remains on the ground at Surfside assisting with the recovery process, noted that the State Fire Marshal’s Office is also monitoring low-lying areas around the state that could experience flooding in the aftermath of Elsa.