Ohio Task Force 1 searches for survivors in Panama City Beach

Ohio Task Force 1 searches for survivors in Panama City Beach
People cut away a tree that'll on a vehicle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 (Source: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLA. (FOX19) - Ohio Task Force 1 safely traveled to the Panama City Beach area Thursday and conducted wide-area searches for survivors.

“The team performed some wide-area searches yesterday in the area. They are spending the night in the team’s tents (capable of accommodating the entire team) and expect more search time today,” reads the latest post on their Facebook page.

“All members are safe and in good spirits. They have very limited communication at this point so all wanted family to know things are well.”

Major damage from Hurricane Michael in Panama City

The 16-member team of Ohio Task Force 1, an urban search and water rescue unit that specializes in rapid water rescues, is made up of local firefighters and first responders.

While they are gone, agencies cover their shifts with overtime paid by federal authorities.

Cincinnati Firefighter Gordon Light is among this group. Others include firefighters from Evendale, Liberty Township, Huber Heights, Piqua, Beavercreek, Sugarcreek Township and Dayton, said Phil Sinewe.

Cincinnati Fire Captain Mike Cayse just returned home after spending several weeks in the Carolinas to assist with Hurricane Florence response.

It’s not clear how long this team will be in Florida, but they are not expected back soon.

Hurricane Michael smashed into Florida’s Panhandle Wednesday as one of the strongest ever to hit the continental U.S., demolishing houses and submerging neighborhoods.

At least six deaths have been blamed on the storm, including four in Florida, one in North Carolina and an 11-year-old Georgia girl who was killed when a carport flew into her grandparents' home.

Millions in seven states are without electricity, including more than half a million in North Carolina.

Florida beach town devastated by Hurricane Michael

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Some of the worst damage I've ever seen.

Posted by WXChasing on Thursday, October 11, 2018

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