SURFSIDE, Fla. — Work resumed at the partially collapsed South Florida condominium after a 15-hour stoppage because of safety concerns, and the demolition of the structure that remains standing is likely, officials said Thursday.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference that search and rescue efforts resumed at 4:45 p.m. EDT. The mayor added that officials were planning for the “likely demolition” of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium.
Jimmy Patronis, CEO for the state of Florida and the state’s fire marshal, told CNN that a demolition “might be sooner than we expected” due to inclement weather and the possible threat of Tropical Storm Elsa.
Levine Cava advised South Florida residents to continue to monitor Elsa, which swirled to life Thursday morning and could impact the Florida peninsula by late Sunday or early next week.
Kevin Guthrie, the director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said his department could be juggling “three disasters at once” in the coming days, and warned state residents to prepare for the possibility of Elsa next week.
Earlier, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he did not know why officials decided to restart search efforts at the Champlain Towers South condominium after suspending them early Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
“Crews had been working through inclement weather, fire within the debris and other conditions, which Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said earlier Thursday. Cominsky described conditions as “very, very unsafe” since the 55 of the 136 units of the 12-story condo building partially collapsed early on the morning of June 24. Around 2:10 a.m. Thursday, authorities halted work after officials learned a crack that was being monitored had begun to shift.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said crews have removed almost 1,400 tons of building material from the site.
The number of confirmed remains at 18, and 145 others were unaccounted for in connection. The deceased have been identified as Hilda Noriega, 92; Antonio Lozano, 83; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Gladys Lozano, 79; Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74; Frank Kleiman, 55; Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Manuel LaFont, 54; Marcus Joseph Guara, 52; Michael Davis, 50; Anna Ortiz, 46; Anaely Rodriguez, 42; Luis Bermudez, 26; Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21; Lucia Guara, 10; and Emma Guara, 4.
Levine Cava said the families of 17 of the victims have been notified of their relatives’ deaths.
©2021 Cox Media Group