SURFSIDE, Fla. (WAVY) — Search and rescue efforts at the site of the collapsed South Florida Champlain Towers condominium building are expected to move along more quickly now that the remaining part of the building has been demolished.
However, the key to the search, according to a rescuer with Virginia Task Force 2, is pretending the towers are still standing.
Jim Ingledue, the deputy leader of the group, has been on the scene since early Thursday along with than 80 others. He has worked 12-hour shifts, sifting through 13 stories of rubble in an attempt to find more than 100 people who are still unaccounted for.
“I just stay focused on why I am there. To help people,” Ingledue said in an interview Monday afternoon.
Ingledue has been a part of the task force based out of Virginia Beach since 1995. He responded to the Pentagon on 9/11. He said when it comes to knowing where to search, engineers must reconstruct the building.
“They put the building back together on paper,” Ingledue said. “Where the condos were and then accountability. Like who was home, who wasn’t home, the people that are missing. What condo did they live in?”
Ingledue said because of the time of the collapse, searchers have been focused on where bedrooms would be.
When a crew finds a body, specific steps must be taken to remove it from the rubble. Surfside is home to a large Jewish community.
“The body is removed in a specific way because of some religious concerns with many of the residents,” Ingledue said.
No one has been rescued alive since the first hours after the June 24 collapse. The cause remains under investigation.