SURFSIDE, Fla. — Members of Indiana Task Force 1 are battling the elements and time as they continue their search at the site of the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida.
80 members of Indiana Task Force 1 arrived on Thursday along with five search dogs. Since Friday morning, the Urban Search and Rescue team has been split into two shifts working 12 hours a day.
Their entire shift is spent on the rubble pile searching non-stop.
Day 6 of labor intensive search and recovery efforts continue for members of #INTF1 as part of the overall 13 day effort since the tragic #SurfsideBuildingCollapse on June 24th. As Tropical Storm Elsa makes her presence known, crews are also dealing with severe weather conditions pic.twitter.com/83T33rcKJk— Indiana Task Force 1 (@IN_Task_Force_1) July 6, 2021
They use bigger equipment where they know there are vacant apartments and in areas where they believe someone could be inside, they downgrade to smaller tools.
Jay Settergren is an Indianapolis firefighter. He said the deployment has been difficult and emotional but they approach each shift hoping to rescue individuals who are trapped.
"It's very difficult on all my rescuers that are here," Settergren said. "We all have families. The thing you could use as an analogy these folks were sleeping in their beds at 1:30 at night when the building collapsed. Half collapsed not the whole thing. You have to deal with why did that happen and now those folks are trapped. There are a lot of things that go through your mind and cause you to reflect on this."
Exhausted but ready, #INTF1 members head to work on the massive Champlain Towers structure collapse area. #SurfsideBuildingCollapse @NAT_USAR_NEWS @MiamiDadeFire @CityofMiamiFire @fema - Video provided by the #SurfsideCollapse Joint Information Center pic.twitter.com/ZvUK9EAQK9— Indiana Task Force 1 (@IN_Task_Force_1) July 6, 2021
Mental health professionals are on the scene assisting first responders and teams.
The biggest challenges right now are the heat, humidity and the hurricane approaching. The lightning is causing crews to shelter in place at times.
Indiana Task Force 1 is typically deployed for 10 to 14 days, but as of Tuesday afternoon, they aren't sure when they will get home.