Ohio Task Force 1 back sifting through rubble after Florida condo is demolished


SURFSIDE, Florida (WDTN) – Search teams from Ohio Task Force 1 are back sifting through the rubble in Florida at the site of the collapsed condo and have already secured the remains of some of the victims.

The second of two teams started at noon Monday. Task Force 1 found some remains Saturday but could not recover them since the building was being prepped for demolition. Now the team says the search efforts should go much quicker, and safer.

Evan Schumann is the Program Manager for Ohio Task Force 1. He says, “I understand Ohio’s canines helped find some human remains for another task force. That task force was then able to recover some of those remains.”

Progress is again being made at the Surfside condo collapse, faster now after the rest of the building was dropped late Sunday night. Portions of the rubble where many bodies were suspected to be located were previously off-limits to searchers because they were deemed too dangerous. But by 2 a.m. Monday, all five FEMA crews were back at full strength working through the pile.

Schumann says, “We hopefully in the next day or two will start to get into that battle rhythm. And once that happens then the accomplishments, the recovery of remains should start to take on a decent momentum.”

The danger is immense right now, so the team has an extra person or two strategically located on the pile to help point out issues and danger spots, according to Schumann. But the building sits over a parking garage. There are cars down below, and large, dangerous voids.

“If there’s something you’re working on, if you remove it, somebody next to you bumps or removes something there, then all of a sudden what you’re standing on loosens up, it’s quite possible you find yourself 10 or 15 feet down a hole somewhere,” says Schumann.

The mission is evolving almost daily. Tropical Storm Elsa is now expected to hit Florida Tuesday morning. Schumann says, “That rain can make the pile a little slippery. So someone steps wrong and slips, they fall down onto a piece of rebar that’s sticking up out of the ground and we have somebody who’s impaled.”

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