HCSO, Fire Rescue teams deploy to help in Panhandle

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Teams from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Hillsborough Fire Rescue left early Sunday morning to provide assistance in the Panhandle following Hurricane Michael.

The groups will be heading to the hardest hit areas near Panama City Beach, where searches for survivors are ongoing and power outages remain widespread.

The Sheriff's Office said 12 deputies loaded up their vehicles with supplies and left Tampa around 5 a.m. Sunday. The deputies will be relieving another team that traveled to the Panhandle a week ago.

"If I could send the entire office I would have done it immediately. Our State has suffered a catastrophic event and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office is proud to answer the call to help with law enforcement, search and rescue and recovery efforts," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. 

In addition, Hillsborough Fire Rescue said it is sending two fire engines as well as nine firefighters and paramedics. That team left Tampa around 3 a.m. Sunday for the Panhandle.