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Franklin County Fire Destroys Homes, Displaces Families

Josh O'Connor WSFWF

A weekend fire at Eastpoint has destroyed homes and displaced hundreds. Franklin County Sheriff Tony Smith calls the fire one of the "most intense" he's seen in his career.

The fire has scorched about 950 acres and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office is reporting more than 30 homes have been destroyed. The agency estimates about 200 people have been displaced. Sheriff Smith says no fire-related deaths have been reported.

"We haven't had any missing person reports, so that's a good thing. We're hoping that there is nobody in any of these homes that were destroyed. We did have a guy right in the midst of the fire have a heart attacked and pass away. It wasn't a result of the fires, but could have been the stress," Smith said.

The fire's cause is still being investigated. Governor Rick Scott travelled to Eastpoint Monday as the State Fire Marshal, Forest Service and other agencies worked to contain the fire. Scott said in the meantime, efforts are underway to provide relief.

"We're going to figure out today what we can do to be helpful to these families. I've been talking last night and this morning to our State Emergency Management Director Wes Maul to see exactly what we can do," Scott said

The sheriff's office set up a GoFundMe account to help victims of the fire. It has already brought in tens of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, donation centers have been set up in Apalachicola, Tallahassee and Crawfordville to collect donations of essential items.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.