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Miami-Dade Mayor to Order Full Demolition of Condo Building after Partial Collapse

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Aerial view of a partially collapsed building in Surfside near Miami Beach, Fla., June 24, 2021. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced that she would order a full demolition of the condominium complex in Surfside, Fla., that partially collapsed last week.

Levine Cava told reporters that she signed an emergency order “authorizing the demolition of the building in the interest of public health and safety as soon as the engineers sign off on the next steps to begin the demolition process.” The demolition of the Champlain Towers South condominium could take several weeks, the mayor said earlier in the day.

The number of people missing in the collapse was lowered from 145 to 128 on Friday following an audit of the list of names, which found that some of the missing were now accounted for as well as duplicate names. The death toll climbed to 22 with the discovery of two more bodies, including that of a seven-year-old girl who was the daughter of a Miami firefighter.

“It was truly different and more difficult for our first responders,” Levine Cava said. “These men and woman are paying an enormous human toll each and every day, and I ask that all of you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

The cause of the collapse is still unknown. A 2018 report warned of potential “major structural damage” to the building.

The rescue effort, itself a dangerous process of combing through the rubble, has proceeded slowly and was halted for 15 hours on Thursday after crews noticed additional instability in the condominium structure. Florida governor Ron DeSantis said rescuers were also preparing for tropical-force winds from Hurricane Elsa, the storm system currently moving toward the state.

“We could see tropical-force winds as early as Sunday night in southern Florida,” DeSantis said at a news conference. “And so we’re actively monitoring the situation like we always would do with these storms, but given what we’re doing on this site, we’re also paying special attention to any impacts that could happen here in Northeast Miami-Dade County.”

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