LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – For nearly two weeks, search-and-rescue teams from across the country have been deployed to Surfside, Florida, to help with recovery efforts. This includes six firefighters from Kentucky who are part of Ohio Task Force 1.
One of the six is with the Lexington Fire Department. He talked with FOX 56 today about the mission to bring the families and community closure after the devastating collapse.
“Our team is there for 24 hours, the whole time,” said Capt. Ryan Hogsten of the Lexington Fire Department.
Day in and day out, countless rescue teams are coming in from all over to keep the search going, even as efforts made the tragic transition to recovery.
“We, on the federal side, are just here to assist them and try to release some of that, and also, you know, have some final closure for the people and the families that’s in this mess,” Hogsten said.
Hogsten is part of Ohio Task Force 1: a federal, regional group of rescue workers who respond to disasters. He’s in Surfside with other Kentucky firefighters from Covington and Ashland.
“It is different when we come to a site of this magnitude. It’s not just a normal house or anything like that. It’s a major condo, and it’s a lot of material to get through.”Capt. Ryan Hogsten
Witnessing such devastation and sadness can take a toll on the men and women as they search for victims, relying on each other and support from the communities as they dig through the debris.
“Being in the fire service, we are family. Almost everybody on this team is part of the fire service. So in that, not only, when you get into it, not only you have your own family, but you’ve got the fire department family. And just like any other family, how we deal with tragedy, we lean on each other; we talk to each other,” Hogsten shared.
Coming from all over with a single mission: working nonstop through such devastation to give families and a community peace.
The task force is prepared to be in Surfside for at least two weeks. There are more than 80 crew members with the team rotating in 12 hour shifts