Cape Coral firefighters respond to Surfside condo collapse
CAPE CORAL, Fla.– Along with other first responders from Southwest Florida, two members of the Cape Coral Fire Department were deployed to help with the search and recovery mission in Surfside after the condo collapsed.
Fire Battalion Chief Mathew Marshall and Firefighter Zair Gonzalez were deployed for about a week with USAR Task Force 6.
“There was a lot of rebar, there were a lot of large pieces of concrete, a lot of glass, it was a very challenging search environment,” Gonzalez said.
They said they worked long days, with 12 hours shifts working through the pile of rubble.
“The morale was high because there was always hope, there is always hope and we were there to find that hope,” Marshall said. “Every day we would go out there and do the best we could with what we were given.”
Over the course of the week, they dealt with fires and storms that created other obstacles they had to work through.
They said they were focused on their mission and worked tirelessly the entire time they were there, but also felt the gravity of the situation on the ground.
“It’s still processing,” Marshall said. “It’s going to be a long process for all of us that were over there because we felt everything that was going on.”
Both are back home, but they said they are bringing their experience working in Surfside back to benefit residents in Cape Coral.
“I think it was a great experience for us and bringing that to the City of Cape Coral, it’s a huge asset,” Gonzalez said.
Marshall said they recently started a USAR team in Cape Coral. He said the team was started about a year ago, but it took time to complete the necessary training.
“We have a group of individuals here that are very motivated, are part of a team that has extensive training, and we are ready to respond, we are on duty 24/7,” Gonzalez said.
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