SURFSIDE, Fla. – Dispatch calls recorded just hours after Thursday’s collapse reveal a woman trapped between two beds and rescuers’ heroic efforts to reach her. Sources told Local 10 that the first responders were in active conversation with the woman up to at least 11 hours after the collapse.
And those responders who arrived first on scene went under ground in to the garage with no safety precautions in place and no idea if a further collapse was coming, ready to risk their own lives in hopes of saving another.
First Responder 1: “In communication with a victim who’s saying that there’s a total of 3 people that was in that apartment with her.”
First Responder 2: “Special Ops: Are all three people still with her or is she by herself?”
First Responder 1: “She’s stuck in between two beds right now. But her parents was also in the apartment. I don’t hear them.”
Another bit of audio has another first responder describing what he heard.
First Responder: “She’s banging on some debris. Seems like she’s pretty close to us.”
One first responder, who asked not to be identified, told Local 10, “Everybody that was there that’s what we’re trying to do get this lady out and comfort her. She was asking for help and she was pleading to be taken out of there. We were continuously talking to her…'Honey, we got you. We’re going to get to you,” he said.
Miami-Dade’s Fire Chief Alan Cominsky is now speaking about the tragic search.
“We did hear audible sounds and they were searching for a female voice for several hours and eventually we didn’t hear her voice anymore,” Cominsky said. “Everyone that’s here on scene is trying to do the best we can with these heroic efforts. But, yes, unfortunately we didn’t have success with that,” Cominsky said.
Sources told Local 10 that those first on scene rushed into the collapse, not sure if they would make it out. One firefighter sent a text to this children, which read: “I love you guys, always.”
As time marched on, more radio calls described fires, possibly from a burning mattress, that forced crews to pull back.
Dispatch alerted the crews to halt. “Stop operations. Remove everybody right now from the area. Come out.”
One supervisor was so worried about the toll that losing the woman had on rescuers that he sent an email to colleagues that said: “As we know she passed.” People there reported that “the wind was knocked out of our guys.’ "