Fire rescue radio call released from Florida building collapse: ‘It almost resembles the Trade Center’

‘It’s going to be high priority... We’re going to need full assignment on this, everybody,’ firefighter tells dispatcher as he arrives at site

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 29 June 2021 19:45
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‘Like the Trade Center’: Fire rescue radio call released from Florida building collapse

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Emergency personnel compared the partially collapsed condo tower in Surfside, Florida to the World Trade Centre, audio from first responders arriving at the scene has revealed.

“Arrival at 88th and Collins. We have a 13-story building with most of the building gone,” a firefighter says to a dispatcher according to a recording obtained by NBC 6.

“It’s going to be a high priority. We’re going to need [Technical Rescue Teams], we’re going to need a full assignment on this, everybody,” the firefighter adds on the radio call.

“A quarter of the building is left, we still have people standing upstairs that still need to be evacuated. We are going to need a full TRT assignment,” he can be heard saying.

“I see many people on their balconies. There’s no elevators. The building is gone. There are no elevators. It almost resembles the Trade Center,” the firefighter says.

Another firefighter can be heard saying: “Some people are evacuating. They said it sounds like they heard a bomb.”

First responders can be heard on the call guiding their colleagues on how to approach the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South in Surfside.

“Pull up to the light and stop. We need to contain this whole area. This building does not look stable,” one firefighter says.

Retired Miami assistant fire chief Pete Gomez told NBC 6 that the communication on the call saved the lives of both firefighters and trapped residents.

“There’s no doubt. Not only the victims that were there — the people that needed to be rescued — but maintaining a command and control presence for the units that were coming in,” Mr Gomez said.

The initial observations of the collapsed building came from a firefighter in Engine 76.

“You know that we cannot have people going rogue and doing their own thing,” Mr Gomez added. “These folks want to go in there and they want to start working and that incident commander, Battalion One and Engine 76 at the beginning, you can tell that they were gaining control of the scene and not allowing people to go rogue because you could have lost firefighters, first responders, if you didn’t do that.”

On Tuesday, the death toll had risen to 11, with 150 people remaining missing. No one has been pulled alive from the mound of debris since Thursday morning, only hours after the collapse took place in the middle of the night.

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