BEVERLY (CBS) – It was an eerie coincidence for first responders who happened to be on a training mission in Beverly Monday when headlines trickled in from Moore, Oklahoma. Firefighters from across the state were searching for people hiding in the rubble of a simulated building collapse for the Massachusetts Urban Search and Rescue Response System.
“The managers were checking the availability of their people because if we ever got called, we’d have to be at the airbase in 6 hours,” said program manager Mark Foster. He says it’s not likely they’ll be called immediately, since there are teams a lot closer. But if they are, they’ll be ready.
They were searching with dogs through a pile of rubble behind the Beverly Airport, cutting through concrete and steel. “This building may be a quarter of an acre. In Oklahoma, we’re talking hundreds of acres, and finding victims in those hundreds of acres,” explained Foster.
They’ve seen it end both ways. When they responded to the 2011 tornado in the Springfield area, they found a mother killed while shielding and saving her daughter in a collapsed home. “You always keep in the back of your mind that you’re going to be the one to find them,” says rescue team manager Bobby Better. “That’s what keeps a lot of these guys going.”