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Stories From Main Street: Behind The Scenes With The Urban Search And Rescue Team In Newark

(credit: Sean Adams/WCBS 880)

(credit: Sean Adams/WCBS 880)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – When it comes to urban search and rescue they are the best of the best.

The Strike Team, which is made up of members from 10 cities and towns across North Jersey, was assembled after the Sept. 11 terror attacks to assist the FDNY if a catastrophe should hit New York City.

“After 9-11, the state of New Jersey thought that it would be a good idea to have our own rescue response in this area,” Newark firefighter Frank Bellina said.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams Reports

He spent half a year planning a nighttime training exercise that will span over four days this week.

“This exercise is kind of like backing up what we did in the Hackensack parking deck collapse,” Bellina said. “Some of the problems we had there we brought in here.”

The drill is designed to train firefighters to search for survivors trapped in mangled wrecks.

The course features up to a dozen slabs of concrete planted on top of cars. The old  Borden milk facility has also been made over to include voids and gritty, dark, dangerous spaces.

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

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“You have real steel beams. You have metal grates, all kinds of obstacles,” Chief of Special Operations, Art Mauriello, said. “This is as close to the real thing as you can get.”

Mauriello said they are already planning for the next drill, simulating a plane crash.