Search resumes after remaining section of South Florida condo is demolished

Surfside Building Collapse – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Felix Mizioznikov

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Crews used explosives late Sunday night to demolish what was left of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla

Rescue crews and emergency workers were given the all-clear to resume search efforts at the collapsed South Florida condo building after demolition crews initiated a string of explosives that brought down what was left of the building. The targeted blast caused the tower to crumble, sending a plume of dust over the beachside community. 

The heavily damaged South tower was knocked down around 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. 

“It will be safe to resume the search activities very shortly after the blast and that’s when we’ll resume it,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava at a press conference Sunday evening. Cava stated that the demolition went “exactly as planned.” 

County officials stressed the importance of removing the tower. The demolition was an essential part of the search process so that rescue crews could resume scouring the pile of rubble for victims. 

Immediately after the collapse, newer debris was cleared so that rescuers could begin to make their way into parts of the underground garage, a point of particular interest.

By entering the garage, crews are hoping to get a clearer view of voids that may be located within the rubble as they continue to search for 121 residents who are believed to be trapped beneath the fallen wing of the tower that collapsed June 24th. 

The tower’s demolition was hurried because of Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to hit South Florida with heavy rains and high winds as early as Monday.

The death toll from the disaster remains at 24, with 121 people still unaccounted for. 

The Sunday demolition of the remaining tower added sadness to the families who lived in the complex as homes and possessions were destroyed. “So often demolitions of buildings are a spectacle, it’s almost like a show,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. D-Fla. said. “This demolition is a tragic situation.”

Local officials assured residents that everything had been done to rescue any pets left behind within the structure. “Folks can be comfortable we’re not leaving anyone behind, including our beloved pets,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told reporters.

Several investigations have already begun to find the exact cause of the collapse.

Multiple documents show that the condominium’s association’s board received warnings from an engineering firm beginning in 2018. It was stressed that the structure needed extensive repairs. 

The association acknowledged the “desperate needs of the building” ahead of a May 2021 board meeting. A memo was sent to Champlain Towers South residents. 

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