Highlands man dead after running generator in garage, deputies say

Another man severely burned fueling generator
Posted at 6:37 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 18:37:54-04

A Highlands County man is dead after he ran his generator being in a garage, according to the Highlands County Sheriff's Department.

They also had a man severely burned, but will recover, and who lost his home to fire resulting from an accident while fueling a generator last night, deputies said.

This comes as the sheriff's office is working to get food and water to those in critical need of supplies and have absolutely no way to get to one of the distribution points. Thursday, deputies delivered to elderly residents in Delaney Heights in Avon Park, the SIM community in Sebring, as well as in Lorida, according to their Facebook page.

In the meantime, two sheriff's deputies have also been forced out of their homes after the storm.


As of Friday early evening, 69 percent of Highlands County is without power. People say they are feeling desperate. One woman told ABC Action News she is helping take care of her 92-year-old neighbor who has been without power and ice.

"She's hot," she said. "She sitting in the dark all by herself."


This comes as there are still gas stations running out of fuel. Many gas stations are struggling to get generators to operate their pumps.

"There is none and then you have to sit in line for 2 hours to get $20 worth of gas," said Kara Gotkie, a Highlands County resident.

She's also trying to figure out how to pay her bills, as both her and her husband's employers are out of power.

"No paycheck for either one of us," Gotkie said. "Now we have no money coming in to pay bills. And, I mean it's like, what am I going to do to pay our mortgage?"

Dairy Farms in the area are still facing situations where they are not at full power.

"Just limping along," said Brett Goolsby, owner of Triple G Dairy, based in Sebring.

They're also dealing with storm damage and operating almost entirely off of generators, going through hundreds of gallons of fuel per day.

"It gets to be nerve-racking," Goolsby said. "But we're making it we don't have any choice we got to keep going."

There are no projections yet as to when Highlands County will be restored to full power.

Food and water distribution points are at South Florida State College in Avon Park, the Health Department near the Ag Center in Sebring and the old Winn Dixie Plaza in Lake Placid. 

All Highlands County schools will be closed through Tuesday, September 19th. 

Highlands County Residents may now pre-register for federal disaster assistance.  

Individuals in highlands County are now eligible for FEMA assistance please apply at 
Register with FEMA as soon as possible. If you preregistered with FEMA, you do not have to apply again. If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register:

• Online at, or
• On the FEMA Mobile App, or by
• Calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585.
• The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.
• Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish and press 3 for other languages.

The County has also set 2 locations to facilitate the application process:
Firemen’s Field (Fairgrounds)
681 Magnolia Ave.
Sebring, FL. 33870
8:30am until 5:00pm. (9-15-17 and 9-16-17)
Sebring Public Library
319 W. Center Ave., 
Sebring, FL 33870
Phone: (863) 402-6716 
Friday and Saturday 9:30 am - 5:30 pm 
Tuesday to Thursday 10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday.