SWFL first responders assist with search and rescue efforts in Surfside

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
condo collapse
Credit: WINK News

Some first responders from Southwest Florida headed across the state to help with search and rescue efforts after the tragic condo collapse in Surfside.

Task Force 6 came all the way from Lee County to assist those in Miami-Dade. One of the directors spoke to WINK News.

Shane Silbert is one of the directors of Task  Force 6 and says that since they arrived on Friday, things have been going non-stop. They’ve been working 12 hours on, 12 hours off.

But, he was able to give some insight into what the team is up against and why this process is taking so much time.

“We’re de-layering now so we’re really taking away floors and as we pull that away. It just depends on the structural stability,” Silbert said. “If it becomes unstable we’re pulling our responders out because we risk a lot to save a lot we’re not risking a lot to save a little.”

One of their biggest concerns is a secondary collapse since the structure is currently so unstable.

Silbert describes the process as “methodical.” There are structural engineers on sit as well that tell people when it is safe.

Earlier on Sunday, a crane took away a large slab of concrete that officials say was actually the floor.

Crews started at the top and have worked their way down, estimating that they’re currently working at about the tenth floor. This means they still have a ways to go.

“Everything is pancakes on top of each other so that’s why we’re hopeful to find some of those void spaces where people can at least survive for a period of time until we get to them,” said Silbert.

Yet, for the first two days, the fires sparking, smoke and storms were a huge barrier for the crews.

First responders are still hoping to find people alive underneath the rubble. They’re still referring to this as a rescue mission.

Whenever crews find a picture or something of sentimental value, they give it to a technician who is able to preserve the item. They scan it so they can show family members. The family members identify who it belongs to and are able to keep the item safe.

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