An aerial view of the site during a rescue operation of the Champlain Tower, which partially collapsed on July 1, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Miami-Dade County’s Mayoress Daniella Levine Cava signed an emergency ordinance Friday approving the demolition of a 12-story condo building in Surfside, Florida that partially collapsed more than a week ago.
However, it will likely be weeks before the building, Champlain Towers South, is demolished as engineers evaluate all possible effects of demolishing the rest of the structure, Levine Cava said.
“The building poses a threat to public health and safety and it is important to demolish it as soon as possible to protect our community,” Levine Cava said during a news conference on Friday evening.
The mayor said search and rescue operations remain the authorities’ top priority even as they plan to demolish it. The death toll rose to at least 22 on Friday evening, with 126 people still missing.
Levine Cava and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez discovered Friday that one of the bodies found was from a seven-year-old child whose father works for the Miami Fire Department.
“It was really different and more difficult for our first responders,” Levine Cava told reporters.
People view a memorial that contains pictures of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South Condo building on June 30, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
“These men and women pay an enormous human toll every day, and I ask all of you to keep them all in your thoughts and prayers. They really represent the very best in all of us, and we have to be there for them as they are for us. “
Levine Cava also announced that a building in North Miami had been found unsafe after being checked by authorities and found that it would not have been recertified. According to the Associated Press, authorities have ordered an evacuation of the building.
Following his visit to Surfside yesterday, President Joe Biden officially authorized the federal government on Friday to begin November 24th.
Kevin Guthrie, Florida Emergency Management Director, thanked the federal government and private sector providers for their support.
The Royal Caribbean Group is providing free accommodation and resources to search and rescue teams on one of their ships docked in the Port of Miami. Amazon has also assisted search and rescue teams by donating 500 laundry bags, 2,000 laundry capsules, and 2,000 dryer sheets, Guthrie added.
“The support we have seen for our first responders has been absolutely incredible,” he said.
Governor Ron DeSantis provided additional updates on Hurricane Elsa, noting that South Florida could see tropical storm winds as early as Sunday night. Authorities are paying “special attention” to any potential impact on Miami-Dade County.
DeSantis said search and rescue teams from Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey will assist the state emergency response teams and prepare for Hurricane Elsa.
Charles Cyrille, division chief of the Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management, urged citizens to begin preparing evacuation plans, which include three to seven days of supplies for each member of a household. Cyrille added that homes should also be prepared for impact by securing items like trash cans and patio furniture that can easily be blown away by a hurricane.
“It is critical that these preparatory activities begin today,” said Cyrille.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett announced early Friday about Champlain Towers North, the sister property of the collapsed condominium. Burkett said arrangements have been made to relocate residents while experts prepare to conduct a forensic study on the structure to assess their safety.
Search and rescue operations were resumed on Thursday evening after a day-long standstill, with authorities hoping to safely expand the search area. The stop was due to structural concerns identified by subject matter experts, according to Alan Cominsky, chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Department.
The investigation into the cause of the collapse is still ongoing.
Search and rescue teams search for possible survivors and recover remains in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South Condo building on June 30, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Recent evidence suggests the 40-year-old condominium building showed signs of major structural damage as early as 2018, with one report citing problems with waterproofing under the pool and cracks in the underground parking garage.
A video that was recorded the night of the collapse has also come to light showing water flowing into the building’s parking garage.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced Wednesday evening that it had launched a state investigation into the cause of the collapse and developed improved building codes.
Former NIST director Dr. Walter Copan, who ran the agency under then-President Donald Trump until January 2021, told the Miami Herald that it could only be a few months for NIST to provide new facts from the investigation.
“Typically there will be an initial summary within three to six months to provide the public with a status update,” said Copan, according to the Herald.
“The primary role of NIST is to provide the public with regular updates on NIST’s technical analysis and the cause of the failure,” he said.