LIVE: Florida Officials Give Update on Condo Collapse Rescue Mission in Surfside

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “LIVE: Florida Officials Give Update on Condo Collapse Rescue Mission in Surfside” – below is their description.

    (July 1) Live from Surfside, FL for a press conference with local officials. The sea-view side of a beachfront condo tower collapsed in the Miami-area town of Surfside.

    As more human remains emerged Wednesday from the rubble of the collapsed Florida condo tower, the dead this time included the first children, ages 4 and 10, a loss that the Miami-Dade mayor called “too great to bear.”

    Mayor Daniella Levine Cava made the announcement nearly a week after the Florida building came crashing down. After some preliminary remarks at a media briefing, she took a deep breath to gather herself and stared down at her notes. She spoke haltingly and said the disclosure came with “great sorrow, real pain.”

    “So any loss of life, especially given the unexpected, unprecedented nature of this event, is a tragedy,” she said. But the loss of children was an even heavier burden.

    Miami-Dade police later identified the children as 10-year-old Lucia Guara and 4-year-old Emma Guara. The remains of their father, Marcus Guara, 52, were pulled from the rubble Saturday and identified Monday. The girls and their mother, Anaely Rodriguez, 42, were recovered Wednesday.

    Search crews going through the ruins found the remains of a total of six people Wednesday, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 18. It was the highest one-day toll since the building collapsed last Thursday into a heap of broken concrete. The number of residents unaccounted for stands at 145.

    Earlier in the day, crews searching for survivors built a ramp that should allow the use of heavier equipment, potentially accelerating the removal of concrete that “could lead to incredibly good news events,” the state fire marshal said.

    Since the sudden collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South last week in Surfside, rescuers have been working to peel back layers of concrete on the pancaked building without disturbing the unstable pile of debris.

    Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told family members of those missing that the ramp allowed rescuers to use a crane on sections that were not previously accessible. He said that improves the chances of finding new pockets of space in the urgent search for survivors.

    “We hope to start seeing some significant improvement in regards to the possibility of (finding) any voids that we cannot see,” Jadallah said.

    In an interview with Miami television station WSVN, state Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis described the ramp as “a Herculean effort” that would allow crews “to leverage massive equipment to remove mass pieces of concrete,” which could lead to good results.

    Patronis told The Associated Press that the ramp will permit heavy equipment to get closer to areas where debris needs to be cleared. The new equipment includes a so-called nibbler, a massive machine that has a scissors-like tool at the end of a long arm to cut through concrete and rebar.

    Officials have been concerned an underground parking garage could collapse under the weight of heavy equipment, so they decided to build the makeshift limestone ramp, Patronis said. He said dogs are used to check for survivors in the area where the machine works, and then the nibbler is sent in.

    “So you can really make some serious rapid headway just because of the sheer hydraulic forces this thing can exert versus a human being with hand tools,” Patronis said.

    The cause of the collapse is under investigation. A 2018 engineering report found that the building’s ground-floor pool deck was resting on a concrete slab that had “major structural damage” and needed extensive repairs. The report also found “abundant cracking” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.

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