Roughly 40 people make up the technical rescue team with the Knoxville Fire Department. They train for multiple scenarios including structural collapses.
A bridge collapse in Miami on Thursday killed at least four people. A newly constructed pedestrian walkway crashed down on Florida International University’s campus. Nine others were taken to the hospital.
Senior firefighter Al Ludwig is a member of the Knoxville Fire Department’s technical rescue team. They’re prepared to respond to this type of call. It’s something he hopes never happens here, but his team goes through hours of training to prepare anyway.
“We’d be able to respond quickly and efficiently,” he said.
Ludwig said one of the first things they would do is secure the structure because there is risk for further collapsing. One tool they use is a block of wood. They build towers to prevent the concrete from falling even more.
“So it’s still secure when its weight goes back down onto it,” he said.
They are also equipped with tools to extract people from cars even underneath a concrete slab.
Ludwig said he’s never responded to a situation like the one in Florida but they do occasionally respond to cars driving into buildings which requires the same training.