Surfside condo collapse families, loved ones saw a rescue worker fall two stories

·2 min read

Granting unusual site access to family and loved ones of Champlain Towers South Condo collapse victims made them witnesses to the dangers of search and rescue work, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Ray Jadallah said Monday.

On Sunday, “We had family members at the site to see exactly what we’ve done,” Jadallah said. “This is unconventional, especially so early in the stages. However, as the individuals continued to work feverishly, with urgency, [the family members] witnessed a rescue worker tumble 25 feet down the mount. That is a perfect example of the situation we’re dealing with.”

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue didn’t give the condition of the rescue worker.

Jadallah mentioned this while answering a Monday media update question, “What do you say to people watching this at home and say the search and rescue is going too slow?”

He started his answer by saying he would answer with what they told the families in update meetings, an answer Jadallah said was backed up in those meetings by the group of Israeli rescue workers who arrived Saturday. Some family members opined at Saturday afternoon’s update meeting that the Israeli teams could improve upon the search and rescue job being done.

“Folks, what we’re dealing with is a situation that includes complexity,” Jadallah said Monday. “We’re not lifting floor by floor. We’re talking about pulverized concrete, we’re talking about steel. Every time there’s an action, there’s a reaction.”

Two days before condo collapse, a pool contractor photographed this damage in garage

Explaining the Champlain Towers search and rescue effort

Videos posted to Instagram by those present in friends and family update meetings show Jadallah as the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue official tasked with giving detailed explanations of what’s being done and why it’s being done. Which also means Jadallah’s the one answering questions drenched in anguish about why tactics or deployment that satisfy layman logic aren’t being done.

“It’s not an issue of we could just attach a couple of cords to a concrete boulder and lift it and call it a day,” Jadallah said Monday. “We’re digging through rubbles of concrete the size of basketballs, the size of baseballs.

“It’s going to take time. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a 12-story building. It’s going to take some time.”