Updated June 29: General President Edward Kelly, General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Lima, 12th District Vice President Walt Dix and other IAFF staff members are on the site of the Surfside condominium collapse near Miami, Florida. They are there to let the members know they have the full support of the IAFF during this stressful time and to ensure all membership needs are addressed in the days and weeks to come.
June 29 marks the sixth day of the search for survivors. IAFF members continue to work carefully and methodically in this very fragile situation. Eleven fatalities have been identified so far.
Updated June 28: In support of the IAFF members who continue the rescue efforts in Surfside, Florida, the International is deploying peer support teams. The teams will begin with visits to fire stations, advising those on shift that peer support services are available to anyone in need.
June 28 marks the fifth day of the search for survivors. Ten have been confirmed killed and more than 150 are still missing.
Posted June 26: Metro-Dade, FL Local 1403, Broward County, FL Local 4321 and members of other area Florida locals part of Florida Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 and 2 are searching non-stop for survivors in the aftermath of a condominium collapse just north of Miami Beach.
Task force units have rescued dozens of people from the building and continue to search for additional survivors. At least four people perished in the collapse.
“Our members from across the state are working around the clock in a volatile situation to locate every possible survivor,” says General President Edward Kelly. “The entire IAFF is praying for all those affected by this tragedy and we will continue to provide all needed resources to our members in the 12th District.”
“As long as there is hope of finding anyone alive, our members will continue their valiant efforts,” says General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Lima. “I am very proud of their professionalism and dedication to duty”
About 1:30 in the morning on Thursday, June 24, witnesses say they heard a rumbling and then a louder noise when a large portion of the 12-story condominium collapsed.
Miami-Dade Local 1403 members were initially called out to a report of a garage collapse, but as they arrived on scene, it was clear that it was more than that and called for additional responders.
Task Forces 1 and 2 are leading the rescue efforts as those teams have extensive experience in building collapse rescues. They have been all over the world from Haiti to Turkey responding to collapses.
“Our members on these teams are the best at what they do,” says 12th District Vice President Walt Dix. “These responses are very dangerous and fragile. My thoughts are with them as they continue to search.”
The task forces have been working around the clock in small teams going inch-by-inch in areas where there may be some open spaces with trapped survivors inside. They are using no heavy equipment as the weight could trigger further collapse, but they are aided by dogs trained to smell for signs of life.
The IAFF will continue to update this story as more details become available.