Cleveland space firefighters be a part of search at Florida apartment collapse


The 80-strong team from Ohio’s Task Force 1 arrived in Miami on Wednesday evening. You will start 12 hour search and rescue shifts at midnight on Saturday.

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Ohio’s Task Force 1 landed in Miami Thursday night to help search and rescue teams dig through the remains of the condominium’s partial collapse.

The team is one of five federal teams that travel to Florida to help.

As the scene of the Miami apartment collapse continues to unfold, the search is far from over.

According to officials, the death toll on Friday evening is 22 and 126 are not taken into account.

Some of Greater Cleveland will begin their search shifts during the night hours from Friday to Saturday.

“Last night we arrived in Miami just after 8, 9 am. A little over 24 hours drive,” said Bedford firefighter Brian Harting.

Three other firefighters from Euclid, Green and New Franklin are part of the 81 crew members that make up Ohio’s Task Force 1.

“We’ve been on alert for about a week now,” said New Franklin firefighter Rich Huggins. “Everyone is ready to go”

3News spoke to Harting while he was getting his suitcase ready and waiting for the call last Friday.

This time, Harting was training to begin search and rescue early Saturday morning.

“We got some information from other teams,” said Harting. “It’s about everything from general debris removal to digging through the pile by hand, in some areas concrete, slabs are in the way.”

The area is full of rescue teams and travelers for the summer, which is why the team will be accommodated on a cruise ship.

“We hope not to be in much, we want to be out there and help the people,” added Euclid firefighter Chris Caimi.

The team told 3News that a lot of work has already been done, with lots of hands on deck. But they are ready to step in and extend a heavy, helping hand.

“It seems like Florida already has some resources there,” said green firefighter Josh Compton.

“The vibe is really eager to get out and get to work,” said Huggins. “[We’re] it just itches to come down here and help. We do that as firefighters. “

The troop’s missions usually last at least 14 days, the team told 3News. Depending on their needs, they could be outside longer.

The crews also keep an eye on the severe storms towards the east coast. They’re also a hurricane rescue team, but their primary focus is on the building collapse.

Editor’s Note: The video below is from previous reports of local firefighters preparing to help out at Surfside