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Florida Gov. Rick Scott has opened up the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee to state troopers on their way to areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael. Scott and first lady Ann Scott had dinner on Thursday with 50 troopers and 35 of them slept on cots inside the mansion prior to their deployment.
The governor’s office said it would continue to use the mansion as a shelter for law enforcement as long as necessary.
There are 600 state troopers assisting with the response and recovery in Florida’s Panhandle and Big Bend area.
“These law enforcement officers are leaving the comfort of their homes and company of their families to deploy for critical hurricane response and recovery missions and we cannot thank all of our law enforcement enough for their service,” Scott said in a statement.
Scott thanked the Publix supermarket chain for “generously” donating food to feed the troopers during their stay.
Most of Florida’s capital is without power, but the mansion has generators to provide electricity. The residence is located just north of the state Capitol. As of Friday morning, more than 1.4 million utility customers from Florida to Virginia were without power.
The death toll from Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, Wednesday, has jumped to at least 13, and authorities expect the number to rise.
“We’re still in life-safety mode,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long told CBS News. “We’re not even close to having discussions on rebuilding yet.”
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