Saturday, June 26th 2021
159 people still missing
Fire hampers work on ruin in Miami
Even three days after the partial collapse of a residential complex in Miami, there is no trace of almost 160 people. The rescuers are not making any headway, a fire makes the mission difficult. Meanwhile, there are indications that considerable construction defects had been known for a long time.
Three days after the partial collapse of a twelve-story apartment building in Florida, a fire made it difficult to find the missing. The search for possible survivors continues under high pressure, but the fire is massively hindering them, said the administrative chief of the Miami Dade administrative district, Daniella Levine Cava. Meanwhile, it became known that an appraiser had warned of structural damage three years ago.
“We still have hope. We keep looking. We’re looking for people alive in the rubble, that’s our priority,” said Levine Cava. At the same time, however, she admitted that the fire posed major problems for the rescue teams. So far, the fire brigade has not been able to locate the source of the fire and extinguish the flames. The smoke is now spreading over the entire site. The residents were asked to keep windows and doors closed.
The twelve-story Champlain Tower residential building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, collapsed on Thursday night. Some residents were able to take the stairs to safety or were rescued from balconies. It is feared that many were surprised by the collapse in their sleep.
“Enough is not being done”
Four dead were reported by Friday, the whereabouts of 159 people were unclear. Among the victims was Stacie Fang, the mother of a 15-year-old boy who was rescued from the rubble Thursday morning. According to a report by the Miami Herald, she was taken to hospital but could not be rescued.
The number of dead and missing has not changed compared to the previous day, said head of administration Levine Cava on Saturday. With every hour, however, the hope of being able to rescue buried victims still decreases. A temporary memorial with candles, flowers and photos of missing persons was built near the site of the accident.
Frustration spread among the relatives of missing persons: “Enough is not being done,” said Mike Salberg, who flew to Miami from New York after the disaster because five family members, including his parents, are missing.
Salty air responsible for damage
A total of 55 apartments were affected by the collapse. Until Saturday it was still unclear how many people were in the building at the time of the accident, which also housed many holiday apartments. According to Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, many of the missing come from abroad, including Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Canada stated that at least four Canadians could also be “affected”.
According to media reports, the building near Surfside Beach was built in 1981. According to the authorities, it is unclear why the building partially collapsed. A report from 2018 published by the city of Surfside on Friday found “major structural damage” as well as cracks and crumbling in the basement of the building. Accordingly, the expert Frank Morabito called for the damage to be repaired promptly.
Morabito attributed much of the damage to the salty sea air. However, he did not write that the building was in danger of collapsing. A lawyer for the owners told the New York Times that work on the multi-million dollar repairs had “only just begun.”
According to a study by environmental scientist Shimon Wdowinski from Florida International University, signs of subsidence were also found at the site in the mid-1990s. “I don’t know if the collapse was foreseeable. But we found that the building was moving at the time,” Wdowinski told CNN.