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Progress Village cleanup will take days | Environment

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Progress Village cleanup will take days
Environment, Weather

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Florida - Even with Red Cross shelters available, a large portion of Progress Village residents spent Thursday night at home - in the dark - as the community regroups after a violent storm rolled through Thursday.

Photo Gallery: Pictures of today's storms and storm damage

Electricity was knocked out to the entire area, leaving thousands wondering if they'll have power before the weekend.  The Tampa Electric Company (TECO) worked feverishly to repair lines but with so much infrastructure damage, the entire grid has been turned off for safety reasons.

The Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office (HCSO) has beefed up patrols to help keep people safe as well as to help keep the peace.

"Anytime you have a blackout and no power, there's always the chance crime will increase," said HCSO Spokesman Larry McKinnon. 

Even during daylight hours, 10 News cameras saw people trying to salvage scrap metal from yards.

Crews expect to make significant progress on restoring electricity Friday, but the timetable for full restoration remains unclear.

"If they throw the switch on in that particular grid and we've got one line that's not secure and it's laying across a fence line, there's the potential for electrocution," said McKinnon, adding that there have already been large transformer explosions when certain lines were powered-up.

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