Tampa Fire Rescue crews employ special tools at roof collapse

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – On South Drexel Avenue in Tampa, a crew working to demolish a car port found themselves in a panic, when the structure pancaked down on top of a 28-year-old co-worker.

Tampa Fire Rescue crews used chain saws to cut the roof apart.

A heavy rescue rig responded, with all different sizes of airbags designed to pick up heavy things, and allow rescuers to get people out.

The air bags did the trick. “He’s absolutely lucky the roof landed on him as it did, because it could have crushed him a heck of a lot worse than it did,” said Capt. Ricardo Salabarria of Tampa Fire Rescue.

The collapse happened at a home built in 1940s, the owner tells me, he is getting a new bedroom and dining room.

“It’s exactly like a Jenga game yup, that’s a good way to put it,” said Captain Salabarria.

Despite having the roof fall in on him, the victim chatted during the rescue.

“As we did stuff, we were keeping contact with him to make sure that we didn’t do anything to aggravate or move the structure which would cause more damage or more pain to him,” said Salabarria.

A construction worker across the street watched hoping all would work out.

“I wonder if he was alive or not, I started asking people if he was okay, they tell me he was alive, so ya know, that makes me feel better,” said Moises Yela.

Stay with WFLA for more on this developing story.

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