Saturday 3rd July 2021
The number of victims rises to 22
Miami’s death skyscraper is to be demolished
After the partial collapse of a residential high-rise in Miami, more than 120 people are still missing. The number of dead has now risen to 22. Now it is already clear: The entire building is to be demolished. First, however, the recovery of all victims has priority.
More fatalities and the loss of their homes for all residents – after the partial collapse of a high-rise building in the US state of Florida, the authorities have again had to announce bad news. With the discovery of two more bodies, the number of victims rose to 22 after the accident in the coastal town of Surfside, as the head of the Miami-Dade district, Daniella Levine Cava, said. She also announced the demolition of the entire building.
Levine Cava said she had signed an order to that effect. The authorities were still examining the best schedule for the demolition of the apartment building. Initially, their efforts continued to focus on recovering victims, Levine Cava said. 126 people were still missing, although it is unclear how many of them were actually in the building in Surfside near Miami at the time of the accident. Among the recently recovered fatalities, according to Levine Cara, was the seven-year-old daughter of a firefighter.
The demolition of the ruin is urgently necessary despite the ongoing rescue operation because the remaining part of the building is dangerously unstable, said Governor Ron DeSantis. The tear should take place as soon as possible, possibly on Sunday, in order to prevent the arrival of the foothills of a dangerous tropical storm.
Because of the instability, the other parts of the building cannot be entered before the demolition, for example to get out personal items. Likewise, it is not possible for rescuers to look for pets that may have been left there, said Levine Cava.
Debris could shift
The building parts are to be brought to collapse with a targeted explosion, said a representative of the fire department. 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 in the rubble.
The Mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, said that the still standing and unstable parts of the building were a big problem for the rescue operation. “The only solution is to eliminate the problem,” he said. Because of the approaching storm “Elsa”, which would probably endanger the stability further, it was decided to act quickly. According to forecasts, the foothills of the storm could cause violent gusts of wind and heavy rain in Surfside from Monday evening.
The twelve-story residential building Champlain Towers South had partially collapsed on the night of June 24th. The exact cause of the accident is unknown. In 2018, however, an appraisal had found “major structural damage” to the building, which was completed in 1981. On Thursday, the emergency services had to suspend their search for fear of other parts of the building collapsing; they could only continue their efforts in the evening. US President Joe Biden visited the scene of the accident on Thursday. He spoke to emergency services, survivors and relatives of missing persons.
About ten kilometers from the scene of the accident, a residential building in the city of North Miami Beach was vacated on Friday due to safety concerns. According to local media, an inspection of the Crestview Towers residential complex revealed risky defects in the construction and its electrical system. The city administration emphasized that the evacuation of the building was a precautionary measure. After the accident in Surfside, the authorities began to inspect similar high-rise apartment buildings.