MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Search and rescue crews from across the state are working non-stop as they meticulously go through the rubble at the site of last week’s condo tower collapse in Surfside.
“We already had Task Force One and Two, Miami-Dade County and City of Miami working on site. We have brought in to continue to augment and grow the teams with Orlando, Tampa, and southwest Florida, being Naples in Collier County, all those teams are here. This community that we’ve developed, it was a town and now we’ve got a large city. This site has grown exponentially over the last 12 hours, as these men and women are working around the clock in order to aid and expand on the rescue effort,” said Florida CFO and Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis.READ MORE: Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho On Mask Use For Upcoming School Year: 'Decision Cannot Be Rushed'
He said Sunday morning, the teams has a close call when the structure began to shake.
“So if that building shifts, it could trigger a further collapse and then endanger the lives of those men and women in the rescue efforts. The building moved. We have this technology that gave us enough time to evacuate the site until the building settled, and then they, you know, redeployed the men and went they go back to work. It just underscores how dangerous a job it is,” said Patronis.
He said the teams are ready to confront unknown situations.
“These teams, they’re embedded with trauma surgeons, they’re also embedded with structural engineers.READ MORE: Cleveland Clinic Weston Once Again #1 Hospital In Miami-Fort Lauderdale Metro Area
“The same teams that are here, the same amount of human manpower here, is the same that was deployed when Hurricane Mike his northwest Florida. Where that was a 12 county affected area, this one site, so that shows you the magnitude of just horsepower that’s on this site with the whole goal of saving lives,” said Patronis.
And just how many first responders are on the ground from all of the teams?
“Three hundred plus. When this initially happened, you had every department in Miami-Dade County, I think, responded except for two. Then it then became focused on the task force doing their job, because again, the skills and the training that they have got is specifically to disasters, man-made or Mother Nature,” said Patronis.
He said this is still considered a dangerous search and rescue mission.
“There are dogs on-site, heavy equipment has moved in. It’s very hard to bring heavy equipment in, when again, just like I pointed out, the trauma that you had, that this building has been dealt with, and is the building safe to work that close to. There’s the hazardous debris that’s attached to the building, a lot of that has been removed. But still, when you got furniture, you got AC units, when you got refrigerators falling from dwellings, that risks the lives of the men and women on the ground,” Patronis.MORE NEWS: Calls Continue For Cuban Embassy In DC To Be Shut Down
“It’s just a monumental job. And these are the best men and women in the country doing this kind of work, and they’re risking their lives to do it. And trying to do it as fast as I can. with as much expediency they can’t because there’s somebody’s loved one that’s in limbo,” he added.