(July 5, 2021 / JNS) Controlled explosives on Sunday brought down the rest of the condominium in Surfside, Fla., that collapsed on June 24, leaving more than 140 people dead or missing.
The confirmed death toll rose to 24 on Saturday with 121 still missing at the site in the heavily Jewish area.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava signed an emergency order to bring down the building due to the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to hit the Florida coast on Tuesday. Officials feared the unstable remnant of Champlain Towers South wouldn’t be able to withstand the buffeting of the storm.
“The building poses a threat to public health and safety, and bringing it down as quickly as possible is critical to protect our community,” Cava said at a press conference.
Search-and-rescue efforts at the disaster site were temporarily halted on Saturday to make way for the demolition. On Sunday just before 10:45 p.m., following a series of explosive pops, the building came down in a pancake-like collapse, with the structure shifting slightly to one side as it disintegrated in a large cloud of billowing white dust.
Israel sent an elite IDF engineering team to Florida to help in recovery efforts, mapping out the disaster site, identifying victims and survivors and supporting local rescue forces.
The cause of the disaster is still unknown. A 2018 engineering report found “major structural damage” to a concrete slab supporting the building’s ground-floor pool deck, AP reported, warning that “failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially.”
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