Search Resumes as Officials Consider Remaining Structure

Standing building may be a threat to rescuers, officials say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2021 7:15 PM CDT
Crews Resume Work While Officials Look at Remaining Structure
A search-and-rescue worker passes by the makeshift memorial Thursday at Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla.   (David Santiago /Miami Herald via AP)

Rescue crews at the collapsed condo building in Florida resumed operations late Thursday afternoon, after pausing when piles of shifting debris caused concerns. Work was stopped for about 15 hours, the Washington Post reports. "Our firefighters looked really, really excited to get back there," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said, per CNN. The announcement was made after President Biden and first lady Jill Biden had visited the site in Surfside earlier in the day. In other developments:

  • Officials plan to bring down the rest of the Champlain Towers condo building without interrupting the rescue operation, after determining the demolition can be carried out safely. A final decision hasn't been made, and that could take weeks, but the Florida fire marshal said leaving the remaining structure up poses "too much of a risk" to rescue crews.

  • A judge said the $48 million in insurance coverage the building is thought to have "will obviously be inadequate to compensate everyone fully to the extent of their harms," adding, "and that's unfortunate." The judge is considering one of five civil cases filed against the condo association since the building collapsed a week ago.
  • The next of kin of 17 of the 18 victims have been notified, the mayor said. The missing number about 145.
  • City officials and structural engineers said construction near Champlain Towers could have contributed to the collapse. A neighboring 18-story condo building has been under construction since 2015. A Champlain Towers board member had expressed concern to the city about the project in January 2019, per ABC, but got nowhere. "A critical flaw or damage must have already existed in the Champlain towers," a structural engineer said, but neighboring new construction" might have been the last straw.
  • So many contractors and residents complained about Surfside's building department that the town manager put the office under administrative review, per CNN. The town manager at the time said that he was swamped with "complaints about plans taking too long and inspections taking too long."
(More Florida condo collapse stories.)

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