After Florida condo collapse, Richmond Fire Department details recovery efforts needed to save lives

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The search continues for nearly one hundred people possibly buried under rubble from a collapsed condo building north of Miami.

With first responders still on the front lines, 8News spoke with the Richmond Fire Department to hear more about what this rescue may entail

Before investigators pinpoint the cause of the carnage, a careful and meticulous rescue effort has to be done.

An original dispatch call illustrated the severity of the collapse, detailing a “13-story building with both of the buildings gone…” “We are going to need a full assignment on this. Everybody,” a first responder said.

Miami-Dade Fire shared video of the rescue effort in the basement parking garage.

Captain Michael Oprandi with Richmond Fire’s tactical rescue team says disasters of the size of means calling in reinforcements right away.

“Resources and regional partners as well as the FEMA teams that are throughout the country,” he said.

Heroic acts from first responders have been caught on camera, literally picking people out of rubble and escaping potential tragedy.

Underneath the concrete, it’s not easy to find victims.

“There’s been people pulled out of rubble days later,” Oprandi said, noting equipment like “acoustic listening devices, video and cameras” are used to detect victims.

First responders have to look out for their own safety too, making sure damage doesn’t shift and cause a secondary collapse.

Oprandi says training is paramount, and fire officials go through annual rope rescue, trench, confined space, vehicle rescue and building collapse training.

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