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Surfside Condo Collapse: Miami-Dade Mayor Confirms Demolition Will Happen, But No Specific Time Given


MIAMI (CBSMiami) – At Sunday morning’s press conference, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed the demolition of Champlain Towers South will move forward as soon as preparations are complete and it’s safe to do so.

The mayor gave no specific time for when the demolition will occur.

READ MORE: Tracking Elsa: Tropical Storm Warning Issued For Portions Of Florida Keys As TS Elsa Continues WNW

The planned detonation will be confined to the immediate area, and uses gravity to bring the structure down in its place.

A secure perimeter is in the works to prevent people from getting too close to the collapse site.

Cava is urging residents stay indoors during demolition and to cover openings that allow dust into their building.

The mayor reiterated search-and-rescue operations had to be paused for the demolition crews to prime the remaining building.

On Saturday, state and local officials underscored the necessity to bring it down.

“We have a building here in Surfside that is tottering, it is structurally unsound,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “If the building is taken down, this will protect our search and rescue teams.”

Watch Saturday afternoon’s press conference in its entirety:

 

Officials are hoping to demolish the remaining part of the condo building before any impacts from Elsa are felt.

The round-the-clock search for survivors continued overnight into Saturday at the Champlain Towers South collapse, while officials continued to monitor Tropical Storm Elsa.

During the Saturday morning briefing, Mayor Cava said the death toll is now 24, with 121 unaccounted for after two additional victims had been recovered.

She said she had signed an emergency order for the county ahead of Elsa.

Watch Saturday morning’s press conference in its entirety:

 

Search-and-rescue crews at the site of the Surfside partially collapsed condo spent another 24 hours searching for signs of life.

Officials are keeping an eye on Elsa and the impact it could have on the search efforts and the uncollapsed portion of the building.

The mayor said a contract had been signed to demolish the rest of the unstable structure.

Gov. DeSantis said he anticipates demolition would happen before Tropical Storm Elsa hits the state.

It would “entail minimal work stoppage” in terms of the search and rescue operations of the already-collapsed portion, said DeSantis.

READ MORE: Neighbors 4 Neighbors’ Surfside Building Collapse Victim Fund Helping Those In Need

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said the demolition could happen as early as Sunday.

Meanwhile, Mayor Cava addressed concerns of pet owners vis-a-vis the impending demolition.

“We’ve heard from people about animals left behind in the part of the building that did not collapse,” Mayor Cava said. “Search teams have used cameras to look inside the building. They’ve searched three different times. So far, they have not found any animals.”

“I very much understand that pets are part of people’s families,” she said. “My heart goes out to those who fear for their animals, and I just want you to know that additional efforts have been made and are being made.”

On Friday, the mayor signed an executive order to demolish what is left standing.

“It will take at least a couple of weeks for engineers to determine the best way to bring down the building,” said Mayor Cava Friday.

“It’s important to note that we’re still evaluating all possible impacts and determining the best timeline to actually begin the demolition. Signing the order now is important so that it can help us move quickly,” she added. “The building poses a threat to public health and safety and bringing it down as quickly as possible is critical to protect our community.”

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he would like to see demolition happen sooner than later.

“We have a potential hurricane that could blow that building in the wrong direction. It could create a mess of immense proportions” said Burkett.

Those who have been recovered from the rubble and identified are Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83 and Gladys Lozano, 79; Manuel LaFont, 54; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74; Frank Kleiman, 55; Michael David Altman, 50; Hilda Noriega, 92; Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21; Anna Ortiz, 46, her son Luis Bermudez, 26; Anaely Rodriguez, 42; Marcus Guara, their children 10-year old Lucia Guara and four-year-old Emma Guara; Magaly Delgado, 80; Bonnie Epstein, 56; Claudio Bonnefoy, 85; Maira Obias-Bonnefoy, 69; Graciela Cattarossi, 48; Gonzalo Torre, 81, and a 7-year-old whose family did not want to be identified.

After search operations at the site were halted for most of the day on Thursday due to safety concerns about the building that is still standing at the site, plans are being made to demolish it.

For 10 days straight, search-and-rescue teams have been climbing on the rubble, sifting through concrete and metal.

Firefighters remain optimistic:

 

Drilling through the layers of cement, tirelessly, searching for signs of life.

“Don’t lose hope we will continue until we get to the bottom of that rubble,” said Juan Mestas, Operations Chief for Miami Beach Fire Department.

“There is a very good chance that we could injure anyone who is still underneath. So, the work is tedious and very time-consuming. That why you see the buckets out there just taking one rock at a time.”

Mestas has responded to disasters around the world, including the Twin Towers collapse on 9-11.

Neighbors 4 Neighbors has established a fund to assist families impacted by the collapse as well as help feed first responders. To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to neighbors4neighbors.org/surfsidefund.

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So far, they have raised more than $120,000.



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