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Escambia County's 'Thor' Helping At Surfside

Thor Cmd Center myescambia com.jpg
Escambia County
Escambia County Command Center at Surfside

Escambia County emergency workers will continue to assist in the wake of the Surfside Condo collapse for at least the end of this month.

The center, -- nicknamed “Thor” – was requested by the state Department of Emergency Management. It was deployed on June 27 with one Escambia County emergency staffer, who has since returned.

“We’re just very proud that this is a way that we can help in such a tragic time,” said Escambia County spokeswoman Laura Cole.

Thor provides 1,000 sq. ft. of space, and is crammed with state of the art technology.

“Essentially it’s a large office space; it has a 44 kilowatt generator with 73 hours of fuel on board, there are dual five-ton air conditioning units,” Coale said. “High-resolution cameras, video conferencing, and allows for a four-position communications room. [Also] printers, scanners, office supplies, etc.”

The command center is one of only three such 18-wheelers in the state of Florida. The other two are from Jacksonville. And Miami-Dade – all three are at Surfside.

“It allows for wireless communications, including cellular, satellite, and voice or IP phones, [and] radio equipment,” said Coale. “So, basically it provides a lot of resource for folks in the field.”

The command center was originally scheduled to be brought home this week, before the extension to at least July 30 was granted. It also saw use aboard NAS Pensacola on Dec. 6, 2019.

“We used it during the terrorist attack; the FBI did use the command post during that time,” Coale said. “We did not use it for Hurricane Sally; however, it is available if we do need a mobile command post.”

Coale says for now, Thor is under the command of the state, for whatever it’s needed for.

“It’s my understanding that it’s the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and possible other counties in the area may be using it,” she added. “But we’ve really given that over to the state, and they are the ones determining who are using the command post.”

As of Wednesday, the death toll at the Surfside Condos is placed at 46, with about 90 others still unaccounted for.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.