Monday, July 5th, 2021
Storm “Elsa” expected
Remains of residential complex in Florida blown up
The salvage work in a partly collapsed residential complex in Florida became more and more dangerous. Because of this, and because of an approaching storm, the rest of the building is now being blown up. Then the search for buried subjects should start again.
The remains of the residential complex near Miami Beach, which partially collapsed, were deliberately blown up late on Sunday evening (local time). Pictures from Surfside in the US state of Florida showed how the ruined skyscraper collapsed after several loud explosions and released a huge cloud of dust.
“The Champlain South Tower has been blown up,” wrote the Miami-Dade district police a little later on Twitter. The action went as planned, said a district spokesman for the Miami Herald newspaper after a preliminary examination.
The residential complex with around 130 residential units collapsed on June 24 for reasons that were still unclear. Since then, detection dogs, special cameras and heavy equipment have been used to search for victims practically around the clock. 24 dead have now been recovered. More than 120 people are still missing, although it is unclear how many of them were actually in the building near the beach at the time of the accident.
Tropical storm expected on Monday evening
The demolition was not supposed to take place for a few weeks, but it had now been brought forward. The instability of the ruins was dangerous and hindered the progress of the rescue operation in the collapsed part, said District Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at the weekend. There were also safety concerns about the foothills of storm “Elsa”, which could trigger violent gusts of wind and heavy rain in southern Florida from Monday evening.
Before the demolition, residents were asked to stay in their homes and keep doors and windows closed to protect them from dust and small particles. The search and rescue operation in the rubble, under which dozens of people are still suspected of being buried, was interrupted on Saturday due to preparations for the demolition. It should then start again and be expanded.
The experts could look for the demolition in areas of the rubble that were previously inaccessible for safety reasons, it said. Since the accident, the residents of the part of the building that was still standing have not been allowed back into their apartments for security reasons – not even to take out personal items before the blast. It had previously been checked whether there were pets in the part of the building, said the mayor, according to the New York Times.
Debris could shift
According to experts, the controlled collapse carries the risk that the rubble of the already collapsed part of the building could shift, which could endanger possible survivors. No survivors were recovered from the rubble in the first hours after the collapse. In the meantime, a fire had significantly hampered the search. Heavy rain also repeatedly bothered the search parties and prolonged the agonizing waiting time for relatives.
According to the New York Times, the company that was hired for the demolition was also involved in the work on the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It specializes in using controlled explosions to bring down large structures in urban areas. For the ruined skyscraper in Surfside, small explosives were used to make the building collapse.
In the hours before the demolition, the people in the city of Miami Beach, which is adjacent to the south, celebrated the United States’ national holiday on July 4th with fireworks, reported the Miami Herald. It was only shortly before the action that residents in the neighborhood of the residential complex known as the Champlain South Tower were asked to go to safety. People lit candles on the beach during the detonation.