MONROE COUNTY, Fla. - Federal Emergency Management Agency's FL-TF2 canine worked under the hot sun and through dangerous debris and ruin in Big Pine Key Friday. The stench of seaweed thrown ashore didn't seem to confuse his dazzling sense of smell.
There were dead iguanas and a dead Key deer. The highly-trained dog was part of one of the many specialized teams searching for people who could still be trapped under the destruction that Hurricane Irma left behind in the Florida Keys.
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"Search and rescue teams have gone door to door to nearly 15,000 homes throughout the Keys," Monroe County spokesperson Cammy Clarke said in a statement. "They are about 98 percent completed."
At least 74 people have died in storm-related circumstances. Authorities in the U.S. have reported 36 deaths and authorities in the Caribbean reported 38 deaths. Florida recorded eight of those deaths, including five of natural causes, happened in the Keys.
The aftermath of the storm has been just as dangerous as the storm surge and powerful winds. Without power restored to some 1.9 million homes in Florida, carbon monoxide poisoning from generators and heat-related deaths were still a threat.
The Department of Defense and state and local authorities had some safety measures in place. A boil-water notice is in effect. There was still a curfew, but it was from 10 p.m. to sunrise in the Upper Keys and from dusk-to-dawn everywhere else.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard navigation was limited and The Port of Key West was likely to remain closed over the weekend.
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