Central Florida task force receives hero’s welcome returning from Surfside condo collapse

ORLANDO, Fla. — A local search and rescue team that had been helping at the Surfside condo collapse returned home Saturday.

Members of Task Force 4 said they are exhausted after spending more than seven days searching and holding onto hope they would find survivors.

READ: Surfside condo collapse: Search suspended as demolition nears

They said the physical work was demanding and also very emotional.

The urban search and rescue team deployed last Friday after 55 units at the Champlain Towers South pancaked to the ground on June 24.

Not only was there massive damage, but fires had also broken out in the pile, complicating search efforts.

READ: Unsafe conditions: Evacuation ordered for condo in North Miami Beach

“We have several heavy riggers on our team,” said Spencer Bashinski, a district chief with the Orlando Fire Department. “They were using the crane and using straps to lift the concrete slabs that were the balconies.”

But it wasn’t the tedious process or even the long hours that made it overwhelming for him and his team.

“We all left here fully anticipating finding survivors. That’s what we do,” Bashinski said. “There was a firefighter whose daughter was in there we did work side-by-side with that firefighter.”

READ: Surfside condo collapse: Death toll rises to 24; building will be demolished

Search and rescue efforts have stopped temporarily as officials get ready to demolish the building’s remaining units.

Officials have confirmed that 24 people died inside the building and that 121 are still missing.

See more in the video above.

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