As police and firefighters from across Ontario streamed into the site of the Elliot Lake mall collapse this week, arguably one of the most hardened rescue groups on the scene — veterans of 9/11, the Haiti Earthquake and the Costa Concordia sinking — were never even allowed past the police tape.
“We’ve been on standby since arriving, and if you’re a results-oriented person, the worst thing in the world is to be on standby,” John Green, chief of Special Operations for Ottawa-based International Rescue, told the Post Wednesday.
The group, an Ottawa-based rescue non-profit, was summoned to Elliot Lake by a call from a private citizen. The roof on the Algo Centre Mall caved in at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday; by 2:55 p.m., an Elliot Lake resident (“He’d heard about what we’d done in Haiti,” Mr. Green said) got the organization on the phone.
About 40 hours later, Mr. Green — along with six team members — pulled into the small Northern Ontario town in a specially outfitted fire truck, hauling a trailer packed with lifts, supports, concrete-cutting chainsaws, liquid nitrogen, concrete-cracking explosives and thermite charges.