Many members of the Urban Search and Rescue teams in Surfside have traveled the nation and the world responding to catastrophes, but this time, disaster struck at home.
Two weeks after the tragedy, there are seven search and rescue teams at the site of the collapsed condo building. Five are from out of state, and two -- Florida Task Force 1 and Florida Task Force 2 -- are from South Florida.
"Every day has been a tough day. There has not been one easy day out here," said Scott Dean, leader of FL- Task Force 2.
Scott Dean was on the ground in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and nearly 20 years ago, he also responded to the 9/11 attacks in New York. On June 24, 2021, disaster struck at home.
"Our training and the tools we utilize are identical, but this disaster is completely different than anything we've ever been faced with," Dean said. "Because of the time of day, knowing it was very well-occupied with individuals in that structure, we were looking at specific areas to try to locate as many people as possible, specifically in the bedrooms because it was 1:30 or so in the morning."
Nichole Notte was in Surfside within 45 minutes of the collapse. She is one of five women on FL Task Force 2 tirelessly working in the rubble to help families find closure.
"I have a few breakdowns a day. I try to get it out so I'm not holding too much in, but there are a few times where I find personal items up there -- pictures, photographs, photo albums, little babies toys, kids toys. Those are difficult to see," said Notte.
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Notte has a 3-month-old daughter at home in Fort Lauderdale. She's seen Luca and her wife once in two weeks but remains committed to her mission in Surfside.
"What drives me is putting myself in their shoes and knowing that I would want closure. I would want to know that my family member was found and they can rest peacefully and say goodbye appropriately," said Notte.