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East Bay firefighters aid search, rescue effort at Florida building collapse

The East Bay is sending a pair of firefighters to South Florida to help search and rescue efforts at the Champlain Towers collapse in Surfside, where at least 10 people were dead and 151 were missing as of Monday morning.

Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Landry and Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Peter were on their way to Florida on Monday.

Both are members of the Oakland department’s FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force and were requested by FEMA to join a specialized incident support team overseeing the search and rescue for victims.

Courtesy of FEMA Region 4 FEMA responds to the Champlain Towers building collapse in Surfside, Florida on Monday, June 27, 2021.

The 12-story apartment tower partially collapsed Thursday. The cause is still being investigated, but reports say the structure integrity was questioned in a 2018 engineering report.

In a statement, Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman said:

“The Oakland Fire Department sends its sincere condolences to the surviving victims and family members impacted by this tragedy. … We are proud to offer our ongoing support to the national effort in any way that is needed. Our thoughts are also with all the rescuers working tirelessly on scene and look forward to their safe return.”

Oakland’s California Task Force Four is one of 28 Federal urban search and rescue teams able to quickly deploy to an event.

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