Demolition boosts search at condo, but storms pose threat

Publish Date : 2021-07-05


Demolition boosts search at condo, but storms pose threat

Rescuers searched through fresh rubble Monday after the last of the collapsed Florida condo building was demolished, which allowed crews into previously inaccessible places, including bedrooms where people were believed to be sleeping at the time of the disaster, officials said.

But they faced a new challenge from thunderstorms that hit the area as Tropical Storm Elsa approached the state.

Three more victims were discovered in the new pile, Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told family members, raising the death toll to 27 people. Another 118 people remain unaccounted for.

The demolition late Sunday was crucial to the search-and-rescue effort, officials said, and raised the prospect that crews could increase both the pace of their work and the number of searchers at the site, although the chance of finding survivors 12 days after the June 24 collapse has diminished.

“We know that with every day that goes by, it is harder to see a miracle happening,” said Maggie Castro, a firefighter and paramedic with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue who briefs families daily.

Teams had been unable to access areas closest to the remaining structure because of its instability, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

“Truly we could not continue without bringing this building down,” she said at a news conference.

Part of the existing debris pile was also helping to support the remaining structure, City of Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said. Rescuers were still holding out hope of reuniting loved ones.

“We continue to remain focused on our primary mission, and that is to leave no stone unturned and to find as many people as we can and to help bring either some answers to family and loved ones or to bring some closure to them,” Carroll said.

The newly accessible area includes master bedrooms where people were believed to be sleeping when the building collapsed, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

“We will be able to access every part of that pile, which they hadn’t been able to do up to this point,” DeSantis said. “I think it’s going to move the pace. I think the momentum is very strong.”

Crews could be seen climbing a mound of debris at the site Monday alongside a piece of heavy equipment that was picking up rubble. Jadallah said rescuers focused on a stairwell section, but inclement weather hampered the search, particularly in a garage area that was filling with water. Crews had to pump out water.

The latest forecasts showed the storm moving westward, mostly sparing South Florida, but the area near the collapsed building experienced thunderstorms, and the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Miami Beach, which is just south of Surfside.

Jadallah said rescuers planned to push through.

“Now that we don’t have an issue with the building, the only time that we’re stopping is lightning,” he said.

Workers immediately began clearing some of the new debris after the demolition, and the search resumed around midnight, officials said. It had been called off Saturday to allow specialists to drill holes for explosives needed for the demolition.

“As a result of the contractor who brought it down, he did it in such a way that literally we actually were back on the original pile in less than 20 minutes,” Jadallah told family members of those missing earlier Monday, drawing applause in a rare upbeat moment for the twice-daily meetings.

Rescuers hoped to get a clearer picture of voids that may exist in the rubble as they search for those believed to be trapped under the fallen wing of the Champlain Towers South. Crews, however, have found very few voids, Jadallah said.

No one has been rescued alive since the first hours after the collapse.

During the demolition, a loud rat-a-tat of explosions echoed from the structure. Then the building began to fall, one floor after another, cascading into an explosion of dust. Plumes billowed into the air as crowds watched the scene from afar.

Some residents had pleaded to return to their homes one last time before the demolition to retrieve belongings, but they were denied. Others wondered about the pets left behind. Officials said they found no signs of animals after making three final sweeps, including the use of drones to peer into the abandoned structure.

Levine Cava said teams are working to save personal items and have asked residents to catalog what they’re missing to match with items as soon as they are recovered.

“The world is mourning for those who lost their loved ones and for those who are waiting for news from the collapse,” she said at the news conference. “To lose your home and all your belongings in this manner is a great loss as well.”

The decision to demolish the remnants of the building came after concerns mounted that the damaged structure was at risk of falling, endangering the crews below. Parts of the remaining building shifted on Thursday, prompting a 15-hour suspension in the work.

Approaching Tropical Storm Elsa added urgency to the demolition plans. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Florida because of the storm, making federal aid possible.

The number of people missing in the Florida condominium collapse fell Friday following a new review, but fears of another potentially catastrophic failure deepened after engineers found unsafe conditions in a different tower and ordered the entire building evacuated.

The nearby city of North Miami Beach announced that an audit prompted by the deadly collapse of Champlain Towers found the 156-unit Crestview Towers building structurally and electrically unsafe.

“In an abundance of caution, the City ordered the building closed immediately and the residents evacuated for their protection, while a full structural assessment is conducted and next steps are determined,” City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III said a news release.

The evacuation comes as municipal officials in South Florida and statewide are scrutinizing older high-rises in the wake of the collapse to ensure that serious structural problems are not being ignored.

Crestview Towers residents could be seen Friday evening hauling suitcases and packing items into cars outside the building, which was constructed in 1972. City officials were trying to help residents find places to go.

Meanwhile, authorities in Surfside said four more bodies had emerged from the rubble, including the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter, bringing the confirmed death toll to 22.

But there was also relief. Closer inspection of missing persons list reduced the number from 145 to 126 after duplicate names were eliminated and some residents reported missing turned up safe, officials said.

“So this is very, very good news,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. She said the numbers were expected to keep changing because detectives are continually reviewing the list and verifying reports.

In some cases, when detectives were able to contact people who had been reported as potentially missing, they found that not only were they safe, but other members of their families were safe too. That pushed the list of people who have been accounted for up to 188 and cut the number of missing, she said.

Detectives have worked around the clock to contact relatives and others. In some cases, English and Hebrew names have been offered for the same missing relative, officials have said.

The 7-year-old who perished in the collapse was “a member of our fire family,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.

The discovery of the girl’s remains was especially hard on rescuers, Levine Cava said.

“It was truly different and more difficult for our first responders. These men and woman are paying an enormous human toll each and every day, and I ask that all of you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers,” she said at a news conference.

The mayor also said she signed an emergency order to demolish the remaining part of the building once engineers have signed off on it. She said the order was signed now so that the demolition can move quickly once a date is set. It will likely be weeks before the demolition is scheduled, officials said.

“Our top priority is search and rescue. We will take no action that will jeopardize our search-and-rescue efforts,” Levine Cava said. “The building poses a threat to public health and safety.”



Category :news

Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat X

Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat X

- Taking advantage of the fact that we already have the new Mortal Kombat X available we have prepared a complete special of one of the star fighters


Tips For Great Restaurant Interior Design

Tips For Great Restaurant Interior Design

- Something that we truly appreciate when we will eat outside of our


Man kills 6, then self, at Colorado birthday party shooting

Man kills 6, then self, at Colorado birthday party shooting

- A gunman opened fire at a birthday party in Colorado, slaying six adults before killing himself Sunday, police said The shooting happened just after


Shadow in the Cloud es una película fantástica y del género fantástico protagonizada por Chloë Grace

Shadow in the Cloud es una película fantástica y del género fantástico protagonizada por Chloë Grace

- Shadow in the Cloud: Chloë Grace Moretz comparte el exclusivo tráiler