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Hampton Roads emergency crews outline physical and emotional toll of search and rescue efforts in Florida

Virginia Task Force 2 is on the ground in Surfside after a demolition team took down what was left of the collapsed Champlain Towers condo.

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Just after 10:30 p.m. on the Fourth of July, what was left of Champlain Towers fell to the ground in planned demolition.

Search and rescue efforts are back on and Virginia Task Force 2 is part of the team shifting through the rubble, searching for the missing.

As the death toll rises, Deputy Task Force Leader Jim Ingledue said his team of trained emergency workers is used to dealing with tragedy.

"I think in the heat of the moment, we're all pretty good at compartmentalizing," he said. "None of these men will be shocked by it, however the stacked-on and stacked-on and stacked-on could have an emotional toll."

He said for leaders back home in Hampton Roads, mental health is a priority -- so they're making sure members of Virginia Task Force 2 have whatever resources they need when they get back.

Right now, the focus remains on the mission: search, rescue and recovery.

"There's no doubt. We're going to find everyone," Ingledue said. "We have a really good idea of where they are and how deep they are and now it's just a matter of getting to them."

RELATED: Virginia Task Force 2 sends 80 more search, rescue workers to Florida

He said his team is working around the clock, pulling 12-hour shifts.

"Half of us work from noon to midnight and the other half work from midnight to noon," he said. "It seems like kind of a weird start-stop time but because of heat during the day, that way not one side has to work through the day and take that physical beating."  

Ingledue said the demolition allows rescuers to search in areas that were previously inaccessible because of building instability and safety concerns.

He said his team is using blueprints and models showing how the building may have collapsed, to search for the missing.

"Now we are freed up to search areas that we were unable to search before because of the instability of that building that remained up," Ingledue said.

"I got to believe the numbers are rising of the recoveries that are being made… You're going to see it rise quickly over the next few days."

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