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Virginia Task Force 2 engineers deploy to Florida

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Posted at 1:55 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 20:15:44-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Task Force 2 has deployed engineers from their team to help with rescue efforts in Florida after a condominium collapsed last week.

Virginia Beach Fire Captain and Task Force ;eader Jon Rigolo said VATF-2 has been preparing for the call.

"Immediately, as soon as that building went down and we were alerted about it, we began making preparations. If our team gets pulled into the response ,what's that going to look like? How are we going to roster the team? How is it going to go? Things like that," said Capt. Rigolo.

Virginia Task Force 2 is one of 28 urban search and rescue teams nationwide that's supported by the federal government.

Capt. Rigolo said many, if not all units, including canine units, from across the country have trained at the center in Virginia Beach.

"This site is a nationally-recognized training site for collapsed rescue response," he said. "It's very likely that there are members operating in Miami that have been through our training facility."

Capt. Rigolo said it's at the training center that responders learn how to stabilize a collapsed structure and break and breech to find survivors.

"It's a challenge to work a building like that, and if you look at the way the rubble is, it's a lot of small debris, so a lot of difficulty moving that to gain access to people that might be entombed," he said. "I think there's still opportunities for rescue, unfortunately as time goes on those opportunities will start to diminish."

Over the years, VATF-2 has deployed to other historic tragedies.

Capt. Rigolo said, "We've operated at Oklahoma City bombing going way back to 1995. We've operated at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon. Oh gosh, I could keep going - Katrina, Harvey."

While engineers are on their way south, others from the team are on alert if they're called, too.