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‘This is humongous:’ Video released of officers responding to condo collapse

Some officers struggled to conceive of scale of disaster as they searched through smoke and dust for signs of wounded and survivors; screams heard coming from rubble

A section of a partially collapsed building is seen early June 24, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
A section of a partially collapsed building is seen early June 24, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami, Florida. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SURFSIDE, Florida (AP) — Officials in a Florida town released body camera footage Tuesday from the first police officers who responded to the collapse of a condo building that left 98 people dead.

Officers in Surfside arrived just minutes after the east side of Champlain Tower South pancaked in the early morning hours of June 24.

Each video lasts about 18 minutes. Clouds of dust billow as the officers make their way past the massive wreckage. The officers can be seen calling for survivors and escorting residents away from the part of the building that was still standing.

Some struggled to understand the scale of the disaster. One officer, not realizing that the whole part of the building had pancaked, tells the dispatcher that he thinks “only the roof of the drive-through collapsed” as he searched through the dust cloud shouting for injured and survivors.

Another officer immediately recognized what had happed.

“Fire and rescue are on their way. This is huge, humongous,” one of the first officers on the scene tells his dispatcher.

After a few moments of silence, screams can be heard from the rubble.

Officials are still working to determine the cause of the collapse. Rescue workers spent about a month searching the site for remains. Debris was moved to a warehouse near Miami International Airport, where forensic specialist continue to investigate.

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