Surfside, FL, police officers were first on the scene after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium early on the morning of June 24. Dispatched to the scene, they fought they were responding to a fire.
It took Surfside police officers one minute to respond, WPLG reports.
“All (I saw) was debris everywhere. I was looking for anybody in that debris on that south side of the building. There was nobody there, there was nobody. And at that moment, it was just a complete shock,” Officer Craig Lovellett said.
Lovellett said he could hear survivors crying.
“I was shining a light up there. I could see children waving,” he said. “I shined the light on myself waved to the kid, you know, and just to let them know that we were there for them.”
Surfside Police Captain John Healy was on the scene in just minutes. He lost four friends. Despite knowing they were there, he got right to work helping to save lives, CBS Miami reports.
“We did see first-hand people yelling from balconies and shining flashlights down. We told them, we shined back, we yelled to them, our officers were yelling up to them, personnel from the fire department, that ‘we’re here, we’re coming’,” he recalled.
Psychologists are on hand to speak to officers, to help them process their grief and emotions. Healy finds strength at home.