SURFSIDE, Florida — The Ohio Task Force 1 is currently in South Florida helping with the rescue efforts at the collapsed condominium building near Miami Beach.
The team of 80 deployed earlier this week from Vandalia, Ohio, and headed to the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida.
The 13-story, 135-unit condominium collapsed overnight Wednesday – killing 24 and leaving 124 still missing. Several K-9 search teams traveling with Task Force 1 will also help search through the mountain of rubble.
"It’s really just an effort to search, recover, give some piece of mind to family members... that kind of an operation," said Phil Sinewe of Ohio Task Force 1.
The 80-member team arrived Thursday night and immediately split into two 40-member groups, rotating 12-hour, round-the-clock shifts at the site, hoping for a miracle.
"I think everybody hopes to have a rescue of some live victims. I don't suspect that there's much of a chance of that right now, so it's more of a recovery operation, I would say," says Sinewe.
Sunday evening, officials in the area set off explosives to begin the demolition on the remaining parts of the condo that had not fallen. Surfside authorities say this will aid in giving crews access to parts of the rubble that have been unavailable previously.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said over the weekend that officials would begin the search and rescue efforts shortly after the demolition was complete, telling reporters, "we are standing by. We are ready to go in, no matter the time of night."