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Newly released body cam video captured the harrowing scene three Florida cops encountered at the collapsed Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, where panicked residents screamed for help amid the destruction and chaos.
The more than 45 minutes of video the town released Tuesday provides first-person views of the early moments of the June 24 catastrophe, which left 98 people dead, according to the Miami Herald.
Officer Ariol Lage, whose camera began recording about 1:24 a.m., rushed into the partially collapsed parking garage and asked if anyone was there. He then heard a voice.
“Where are you? Are you OK?” Lage asks, according to the news outlet.
“No,” a woman replies.
“Anybody down there injured?” the cop asks.
“Yes, an old lady,” she says. It was unclear what happened to the two women.
Lage’s video also shows him encountering security guard Shamoka Furman, ABC News reported.
“What collapsed?” he asks.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Furman answers. “All I heard was boom. The garage, the pool — if they don’t get out…”
“It’s OK, fire rescue is here,” Lage tells her.
The officer and a colleague then walk around the collapsed structure trying to determine how to get closer as screams can be heard.
They then encounter a woman who appears to be in shock. When told to move back, she says slowly, “I’m just standing here cause I’m the building president and if you need something…”
Lage quickly tells the stunned woman that the tower might completely collapse and leads her away from the devastation.
Another clip shows Officer Kemuel Gambirazio talking with someone who appears to be in shock and out of breath saying he just made his way down from the 12th floor, ABC News reported.
The man says he was on his phone watching a YouTube video when he heard something falling, thinking at first that it was no big deal — but then “all of a sudden, I hear, like it’s a f—ing jet like through my bathroom. Got up and said that a f—ing plane?”
Another person is seen running toward Gambirazio as he points and shouts toward the direction of the building.
The officer tells him, “Listen, right now, we were told by Rescue not even we can help right now. … They’re coordinating something to help get everybody out.”
“Please” the man says, but Gambirazio interrupts him and says, “I understand, but we have to do whatever they say.”
Another clip shows Officer Craig Lovellette calling his supervisor while he’s making his way down a walkway with faraway voices crying in the background.
“Help me!” a person yells.
“Captain,” the cop says into his radio. “The Champlain Towers, the building collapsed. The Champlain Towers building collapsed. The back part of the building collapsed.”
The breathless Lovellette continues: “We don’t know. It just, somebody heard a loud noise and it just came down. Fire Rescue is on the way. This is huge. I mean humongous.”
As he walks away from the nightmarish scene and drives off in his got into his patrol car, a man bangs on the vehicle and asks the officer if he speaks Spanish. Lovellette says he doesn’t.
“Esta lastimada mi mujer,” which means “my wife is injured,” the man tells the officer, who drives off, according to the Herald.
Lovellette then reaches other officers who appear frustrated when Miami-Dade Fire Rescue shows up and tells them it’s too dangerous for them to go into or near the building.
Furman, the security guard who working the night shift at the time of the collapse, helped two children and an older man and woman to safety through the garage.
“I didn’t think we had earthquakes. I don’t know what went on,” she tells Lovellette. “I don’t even know how I made it out. By the grace of God. I can’t even do this stuff anymore.”
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