ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. - Emergency officials say one person is dead after being electrocuted inside a Bradenton Beach home as Tropical Storm Eta blew through the area Wednesday.
Crews are still investigating, but FOX 13's Kimberly Kuizon reports that there was water inside the home in the 200 block of Bay Drive when the victim was electrocuted.
EMS crews said the area was still "energized" when they arrived and they had to wait for Florida Power & Light crews to respond before they could tend to the victim, according to Jacob Saur with Manatee County Public Safety.
"We do believe there was an electrocution in that residence, whether it was a downed power line or some type of electricity from the home itself. We did find the resident dead once we were able to gain access after de-energizing the home and the home had standing water," Saur said.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury when he tried to access the scene, but he is expected to be OK.
While the exact cause of the electrocution is under investigation, officials warned residents to take extra precautions when standing water or flooding is present.
“It’s very important residents take heed of our warnings especially when we talk about barrier islands and storm surge and what can occur with storm surge and flooding," Saur said. "Sometimes they know their home could possibly flood and is prone to flooding, maybe it’s time to get out and move to higher ground with friends and family. It’s always important when we put out those messages, residents really take heed of that and make those decisions.”
Manatee County had issued voluntary evacuations for low-lying and coastal communities and Manatee County beaches are closed.
The county opened two refuges of last resort: Manatee High School and Mills Elementary School, which opened at noon on Wednesday.
However, due to COVID-19 concerns, officials are asking residents to shelter in place and use one of the community shelters as a last resort.
Portions of Holmes Beach are already flooding and the water is expected to rise as the rain continues along with a possible storm surge.
LINK: Track Eta on MyFoxHurricane.com
Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer is advising residents to stay away from Anna Maria Island unless you live there or are taking care of a relative there. He says the weather will get worse as the evening goes on and recommends removing loose items such as chairs from patios and balconies.
School campuses are closed Thursday and Friday. E-learning will be held on those days.