Joburg’s mighty men of rescue

On Wednesday the 25th of June 2014 at 7am, the Jabulani Fire Station in Soweto was dispatched to a structural collapse of a disused power station at Orlando Towers in Power Park. When they arrived, the crew realised the seriousness of the case. The front of the building was still standing, but large sections of the structure behind the front façade had collapsed.

Incident commander Netshituni called for backup and would need more as the operation continued. Heavy Duty Rescue (HDR), Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), medical and the South African Police Service (SAPS) were going to be needed. Their call for assistance would include Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality Emergency Services, West Rand District Municipality Emergency Services and Rescue SA.

They had to evacuate the building. It was unstable and unsafe and roughly the size of a rugby field. The crew treated the first patient, who was found on the outside of the building.

The crew called out to establish how many people were trapped. Three people responded from under the rubble, a further two were found alive at the back of the building.

“The longer we worked, the more we realised that we needed more hands to help us as some of the concrete blocks took two hours to move,” said Fana Mnguni from City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services.

When it started to get dark, a call was made to Off Road Rescue Unit to provide assistance with lighting. The crew had to drill through concrete and steel to reach the patients. The cause of the collapse was later established to be because of thieves stealing steel. The police had to be there as bystanders continued to destabilise the area by taking steel while the operation was in progress. 11232232_996603090358666_6137345826085553112_n

One man’s arm had to be amputated as it was trapped under a heavy steel beam. The doctor had to be called out twice, only being able to work once a hole had been drilled into the concrete dome.

The crew worked until Saturday, extricating the last of the eight bodies after days of extensive search and rescue. For their heroics, skill and tireless efforts to save human lives the 100-Crew team has been nominated in the Centrum® Guardians initiative.

“These amazing true-life rescue stories highlight the fact that rescue personnel devote every ounce of their incredible strength, stamina and energy to saving lives,” said Natasha Macdonald, the Centrum® brand manager.

Vote for the 100-Crew Rescue Team by watching their story on the Centrum® Guardians website

Centrum® Guardians is an initiative that showcases our nation’s multi-disciplinary and high calibre Emergency and Rescue Services to the South African public.

For every Centrum sold in July and August, the company will contribute funding towards emergency and rescue services specialised training. The next life they save could be yours. Follow @CentrumSA on Twitter or visit the Centrum South Africa Facebook page.

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