The rest of the The Champlain South Tours building was demolished On Sunday evening, authorities hope that it will now be safer for rescue teams to expand their search with fewer reinforcements.
Search efforts, interrupted during the demolition, have resumed at the site, Miami-Dade firefighters announced Monday morning.
The structure was demolished around 10:30 p.m. Sunday using a method Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called “energy slaughter”, describing it as a process that “uses small explosives. strategically placed and relies on gravity to knock the building down into place. “
The demolition took place after part of the building fell in the early morning of June 24, collapsing about 55 of the building’s 136 units. Crews immediately began digging up to 16 feet of concrete and confirmed that at least 24 people were killed, including children. There are 121 people who are missing.
With the threat of Tropical Storm Elsa looming, officials and rescue teams were increasingly concerned for the safety of those digging through the rubble and the risk of the rest of the structure collapsing.
“It looks like the approaching storm may have been a blessing in disguise for us in that it started the discussion on demolition,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Sunday evening. “We want to make sure we are in control of the direction the building is falling and not a hurricane, so all of that together, I think, ended up being a good thing.”
Burkett said he hopes the demolition will eliminate a potentially dangerous threat to workers and perhaps open an estimated third of the remaining pile to search and rescue teams.
Search efforts for the partially collapsed building were halted around 4 p.m. on Saturday so engineers could secure the site and prepare for demolition.
âAs soon as the building is down and once the site is deemed secure, we will have our first responders on the stack to immediately resume their work,â Levine Cava said Sunday evening.
Work resumed without five to seven members of the Israeli rescue team. Colonel Elad Edri, deputy commander of the Israel National Rescue Unit, said earlier that the decision was made based on the team’s capabilities that will be needed after the demolition.
Residents ordered to evacuate several buildings
Since the collapse, several buildings in the Miami area have been evacuated.
Prior to the demolition of the South Tower, the Champlain East Tours condominium board of directors suggested residents evacuate, according to a letter from the condominium association’s board of directors obtained by CNN.
The letter encouraged residents to evacuate in advance as nearby streets would be congested due to the demolition. The council also asked residents to take their pets and valuables with them, including passports and important documents.
âThe foundations of our building have been checked several times, but we make this suggestion with great caution,â the letter said. “We don’t expect any impact for us, but you can’t be too careful under the circumstances.”
On Saturday, the city of Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of a residential building out of caution after a city inspector examined an empty unit and reported a “failure of the flooring system in that unit and excessive deviation on a exterior wall “, according to City spokesperson Melissa Berthier.
Miami Beach alone had 507 buildings subject to the 40-year recertification regulation, and the city “walked through them all in a week,” starting the day after the Champlain Towers South collapse, Mayor Dan said Monday. Gelber to CNN’s Jim Sciutto. None had structural problems, he said.
North Miami Beach officials on Friday ordered the evacuation of the Crestview Towers, claiming the building was behind schedule with its 40-year recertification. Officials cited the late certification report as saying the building was structurally and electrically unsafe.
Miami Beach is not going to assume that its building inspection and recertification processes are being done the right way, Gelber said.
“We are not going to let inertia be the organizing principle of our protection,” he said. “We are going to make sure that what has been a once in a lifetime incident has no system wide implications.”
Property left behind
Many Champlain Towers South residents whose condos did not collapse had to evacuate without many of their belongings, leaving behind clothes, valuables and family photos.
Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III said on Sunday that homicide detectives had “collected salvageable items, registered them and documented them.”
Any kind of inheritance that can be safely recovered is documented to “be dealt with at a later date with family members,” he said.
24th victim identified
David Epstein, 58, has been identified as the 24th confirmed victim to die in the collapse. His body was found on Friday, officials said.
The victims are between 4 and 92 years old.
Those who died include sisters aged 4 and 10, an elderly couple and the daughter of a firefighter.
Nicole Mejias told CNN on Saturday that five members of her family were in the Champlain Towers South building when it collapsed, including Stella Cattarossi, 7, the daughter of the Miami firefighter. Cattarossi’s body was found Thursday evening.
“We miss them so much already, we wish this tragedy did not happen and we will always remember them,” said Mejias.
Tropical Storm Elsa
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 15 counties, including Miami-Dade County, on Saturday due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Florida Keys and a tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of southwestern Florida to Tampa Bay.
Surfside is no longer in Elsa’s forecast cone, but the area could still receive rain from the storm.
The governor expressed support for Elsa’s pre-impact demolition plan and said on Saturday he believed it would be best if the building was destroyed before the storm arrived. “With these gusts potentially, that would create a very big danger.”
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