Rest of collapsed Florida tower demolished (+video)

TEHRAN, Jul. 05 (MNA) – The remaining portion of a Miami-area condo tower that partially collapsed was demolished Sunday night after engineers declared it unstable.

The remaining part of a collapsed building in South Florida was demolished in a burst of explosives that took the unstable structure down in seconds after officials worried that it might not withstand the powerful winds of an approaching tropical storm and that rescue workers could be endangered, The New York Times reported.

The demolition, which took place at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, came after officials warned residents to stay inside in case dust and other particles polluted the air, and as anguished families continued to away news in the search for 121 people missing since the building in Surfside collapsed more than a week ago. Rescue efforts had halted for much of the weekend amid growing worries about the unstable structure.

Officials said that the demolition, which was initially thought to be weeks away, was needed to restart rescue efforts. They described the operation as one that would be contained to as small a footprint as possible — and that would aim to avoid disturbing the area where rescuers have been searching for the missing.

Later Sunday, the authorities identified another victim of the collapse: David Esptein, 58. The death toll remained unchanged, at 24.  

Gov. Ron DeSantis said that concerns about the remaining part of the building left few options but demolition. Many residents of the building who survived had fled the portion that remained standing; many left with whatever they had with them in the moment of the collapse and have not been permitted to enter the teetering structure since. Passports, wedding rings, cherished photos were left behind.

“At the end of the day, that building is too unsafe to let people go back in,” DeSantis said. “I know there’s a lot of people who were able to get out, fortunately, who have things there. We’re very sensitive to that. But I don’t think that there’s any way you could let someone go back up into that building given the shape that it’s in now.”

DeSantis said that while Surfside was not expected to see the worst of an arriving tropical storm, the city could still experience strong winds and heavy rain.

On Sunday, Elsa was about 40 miles southeast of Cabo Cruz, Cuba, with winds of up to 60 m.p.h., the National Hurricane Center said. Elsa, which was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday, was expected to make landfall near the Florida Keys by Monday, then move over parts of Florida’s west coast on Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters said.

“We want to make sure that we control which way the building falls, and not a hurricane,” Mayor Charles Burkett of Surfside said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the method of demolition relied on explosives and gravity to take the building’s remains down.

She also said that the Miami Dade Fire Rescue team had swept the building three times to search for pet animals left behind. “The latest information we have is that there are no animals remaining in the building,” Ms. Levine Cava said.

Bringing down the remaining part of the tower might help searchers access part of the rubble they could not safely reach before, Ms. Levine Cava said. Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said one-third of the debris pile has yet to be searched.

RHM/PR

News Code 175709

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