VIDEO - Picture everything in your building blowing sky high, the ceiling caving in, and everything landing in a jumbled pile. Now, imagine digging through that pile, perhaps multiple stories of debris, to find a gravely injured colleague.
Welcome to the world of collapse rescue, which firefighters and paramedics may face at a moment’s notice.
“All of that stuff is still there, and we have to tunnel through it,” says Tim Walsh, Chicago Fire Department’s Chief of Special Operations. “Desks, filing cabinets, light fixtures, conduit, heating elements, heating ducts, it all comes down!”
Nowhere was that more evident than last August, when a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District treatment facility exploded on Chicago’s far southeast side. The roof collapsed, trapping ironworker Carl Malinowski under tons of twisted concrete and building debris.