TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Search and rescue efforts continue in South Florida after a 12-story condominium collapsed over a week ago. First responders and emergency crews from the Tampa Bay Area are in South Florida, sifting through debris in hopes of finding missing people.
It’s now been nine days since the Champlain tower collapsed in Surfside, Florida and as crews search through the debris, over 120 people remain unaccounted forREAD MORE: The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office In Contract With FDOT For Speed Enforcement
Steven Lawrence is a member of Florida Task Force Three and Tampa Fire Rescue. He says “Everybody’s trying to support each other and doing the best we can.”
It’s no easy job for first responders. Lawrence was sent to the collapse site on Saturday.
“We don’t see a collapse like this every day. It’s kind of tough,” said Lawrence.
He and all the other first responders are doing all they can to find survivors.
“We brought some search dogs and everything to assist us in this search effort,” said Lawrence.
But day in and day out, first responders look with very little luck.READ MORE: Georgia Expands CAPS Child Care Program To Add 10,000 More Children
“Emotional, you know. People find personal items of individuals who are missing, but you’re not able to find those individuals,” said Lawrence.
He says it doesn’t get any easier.
“The children’s toys that you see and find. Yesterday I did find a baseball helmet that had a volleyball on it, but on the back, it actually had the individual’s name,” said Lawrence.
During each second of the search, those search teams are putting their lives at risk.
“Heavy machinery all around you, cranes that are flying overhead with debris and large pieces of concrete. You’re working on a structural collapse where you’ve got sharp edges,” said Lawrence.
But no matter how dangerous, Lawrence says this mission is bigger than just him.
“Slow, methodical, making sure we don’t miss anything, but we are also making sure we can move through quickly enough to save somebody is our ultimate goal,” said Lawrence.MORE NEWS: Ghosts of Ybor City
Those first responders say they are prepared to stay out there as long as they need to in order to find everyone who’s still unaccounted for.