Death toll rises to 28 after building collapse in South Florida
That means 117 people are still missing, she said.
The structure was demolished around 10:30 p.m. Sunday using a Levine Cava method called “energy slaughter”, describing it as a process that “uses small, strategically placed explosives and relies on gravity to knock the building down into place.” .
The pile of rubble next to the building was actually what held the structure together, Levine Cava said, making the search dangerous for the teams.
“Really, we couldn’t go on without bringing this building down,” she said.
The demolition gave search teams access to the area closest to the building that they had previously not been able to access. “And that was where we needed to go,” she said.
With Elsa’s imminent threat, officials and rescue teams were increasingly concerned for the safety of those digging through the rubble and the risk of the rest of the structure collapsing.
Now that the rest of the building is down, the “site is staffed with a massive number of search and rescue workers,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Monday evening.
“Heavy equipment is now able to move around the site as needed,” he said. “The looming threat to this building, the dangerous situation where debris could fall is now eliminated, so we’re operating at 100% capacity. And I’m very excited about that and I… feel the families were too. “
Before demolition, the equipment was limited as to where it could be used on site.
“(The) operation appears to be going much faster and will go on 24 hours a day for the indefinite future until everyone is removed from this site,” Burkett said.
Residents ordered to evacuate several buildings
Since the collapse, several buildings in the Miami area have been evacuated.
Prior to the demolition of the South Tower, the Champlain East Tours condominium board of directors suggested residents evacuate, according to a letter from the condominium association’s board of directors obtained by CNN.
The letter encouraged residents to evacuate in advance as nearby streets would be congested due to the demolition. The council also asked residents to take their pets and valuables with them, including passports and important documents.
“The foundations of our building have been checked several times, but we make this suggestion with great caution,” the letter said. “We don’t expect any impact for us, but you can’t be too careful under the circumstances.”
On Saturday, the city of Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of a residential building out of caution after a city inspector examined an empty unit and reported a “failure of the flooring system in that unit and excessive deviation on a exterior wall “, according to City spokesperson Melissa Berthier.
Miami Beach alone had 507 buildings subject to the 40-year recertification regulation, and the city “walked through them all in a week,” starting the day after the Champlain Towers South collapse, Mayor Dan said Monday. Gelber to CNN’s Jim Sciutto. None had structural problems, he said.
Miami Beach is not going to assume that its building inspection and recertification processes are being done the right way, Gelber said.
“We are not going to let inertia be the organizing principle of our protection,” he said. “We are going to make sure that what has been a once in a lifetime incident has no system wide implications.”
Many Champlain Towers South residents whose condos did not collapse had to evacuate without many of their belongings, leaving behind clothing, valuables and family photographs.
Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III said on Sunday that homicide detectives had “collected salvageable items, registered them and documented them.”
Any kind of inheritance that can be safely recovered is documented to “be dealt with at a later date with family members,” he said.
Two of the three most recently recovered victims have been identified as Ingrid Ainsworth, 66, and Tzvi Ainsworth, 68, according to Miami-Dade Police.
David Epstein, 58, was identified on Sunday as the 24th confirmed victim to have died in the collapse. His body was found on Friday, officials said.
The victims are between 4 and 92 years old.
Those who died include sisters aged 4 and 10, an elderly couple and the daughter of a firefighter.
Nicole Mejias told CNN on Saturday that five members of her family were in the Champlain Towers South building when it collapsed, including Stella Cattarossi, 7, the daughter of the Miami firefighter. Cattarossi’s body was found Thursday evening.
“We miss them so much already, we wish this tragedy did not happen and we will always remember them,” said Mejias.
Tropical Storm Elsa
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 15 counties, including Miami-Dade County, on Saturday due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Florida Keys and a tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of southwestern Florida to Tampa Bay.
Surfside is no longer in Elsa’s forecast cone, but the area could still receive rain from the storm.
The governor expressed support for Elsa’s pre-impact demolition plan and said on Saturday he believed it would be best if the building was destroyed before the storm arrived. “With these gusts potentially, that would create a very big danger.”
CNN’s Keith Allen, Melissa Alonso, Dakin Andone, Rosa Flores, Jason Morris, Hollie Silverman, Brian Todd and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.