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SWFL search & rescue team honored for Surfside efforts

Posted at 10:02 AM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 08:05:32-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Southwest Florida's Urban Search & Rescue Team 6 was honored at a ceremony Monday in recognition of their efforts at the Surfside condominium collapse.

Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis hosted the ceremony at the San Carlos Park Fire Rescue Station #53.

98 people were killed in the June 24, 2021 collapse. Task Force 6 was one of eight crews sent to assist. Many team members took 12-hour shifts searching for victims and did so in the height of summer with a hurricane approaching.

Battalion Chief Jason Martin was rescue manager during the mission and was singled out by Patronis for his efforts. "You made us proud," he said.

Patronis presented each member of the team with a "Surfside Challenge" commemorative coin. One side has the seal of the State Fire Marshal's office; the other has a rendering of the crumbled Champlain Towers South.

An investigation into the collapse is ongoing. Local and state legislators are pushing for changes to legislation and money in the fiscal budget to address structural integrity in multi-unit buildings.