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News Story
Updated: 09/13/2017 08:30:01AM

Two people died during Irma

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By GARY PINNELL

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SEBRING — Two men died during Hurricane Irma, but only one was storm related, Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman said Tuesday.

One man went onto his roof Friday to prepare for the coming storm. He fell off, Blackman said, and died of those injuries.

Another man died during the storm, said Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Scott Dressel. “He was 83 years old. It definitely wasn’t storm related.”

One deputy in Avon Park was briefly trapped when a tree fell on his sheriff’s office cruiser, Blackman said. After he was freed, he returned to duty.

A falling tree also damaged a Highland County work truck, County Administrator June Fisher said.

Blackman said seven crews of three inmates each cleared the streets Monday of tree limbs and obstruction, and nine crews would continue on Tuesday, and would work their way across to the county to smaller communities.

Neither the old sheriff’s office nor the new one was damaged by the storm.

Highlands County Jail was prepared to accept 60 inmates after DeSoto County Jail’s generator failed, but the generator was repaired, Blackman said.

Blackman also asked Highlands County to keep the current 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfews on a day by day basis. The Sheriff suggested the curfews remain in effect until power is restored.

“We’re not out arresting people,” Blackman said. “You might get stopped, but we will not arrest you.”

Blackman just wanted to keep prowlers off the streets, he said.


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