Collapsed Florida condominium building demolished
SURFSIDE, Florida (Nation NowRescuers searched fresh rubble on Monday after the last collapsed Florida condominium was demolished, allowing crews to enter previously inaccessible places, including rooms where people would have slept at the time of the disaster , officials said.
But they faced a new challenge with thunderstorms that hit the region as Tropical Storm Elsa approached the state.
Four more victims were found in the new pile, Miami-Dade Deputy Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told family members, bringing the death toll to 28. 117 other people are still missing.
The demolition on Sunday night was crucial to search and rescue efforts, officials said, and raised the possibility 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 each passing day, it’s harder to see a miracle happen,” said Maggie Castro, firefighter and paramedic with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue who briefs families on a daily basis.
Teams had been unable to access areas closest to the remaining structure due to its instability, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
“Really, we couldn’t go on without bringing this building down,” she said at a press conference.
During the demolition, a loud rat-a-tat of explosions echoed from the structure. Then the building began to fall, floor after floor, cascading down in an explosion of dust. Plumes flew through the air, as the crowd watched the scene from afar.
Crews could be seen scaling a mound of debris at the site on Monday alongside heavy equipment picking up rubble. Jadallah said rescuers focused on a section of the stairwell, but bad weather hampered the search, especially in a garage that was filling with water. The crews had to pump water.
The latest forecast showed the storm was heading west, sparing mostly South Florida, but the area near the collapsed building experienced thunderstorms, and the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Miami Beach. , just south of Surfside.
Jadallah said rescuers were planning to pass.
“Now that we have no more problems with the building, the only time we stop is lightning,” he said.
The decision to demolish the remains of the Surfside building came after concerns arose that the damaged structure could fall, endangering the crews below and preventing them from operating in certain areas. Parts of the remaining building were moved on Thursday, causing a 15-hour work suspension.
Authorities had gone door-to-door to inform local residents of the time of the demolition and to ask them to keep the windows closed. They were told to stay indoors for up to two hours after the explosion to avoid dust raised by the implosion.
The method used for Sunday night’s demolition is called “power blast,” which uses small detonation devices and relies on the force of gravity. The objective was to knock the building down into place, containing the collapse in the immediate vicinity.
Officials used tarps to visually mark the search area, in case new debris unexpectedly dispersed.
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