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News: 8 people unaccounted for, 97 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (Update on NIST’s Investigation)


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11 minutes ago, lewelma said:

It would probably be a good idea at this point to quit the search and recovery (it has been 7 days), and do a controlled demolition of the remaining part of the building so it falls well. If there are people still doing search/ recovery, there is definitely risk that they will be buried when the building falls at an unknown time. 

https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/07/01/engineers-consider-demolishing-what-is-left-standing-of-champlain-towers-south-to-continue-searching/

"SURFSIDE, Fla. – A group of structural engineers worked to make a recommendation Thursday about what needed to be done to continue the search-and-rescue operation in Miami-Dade County’s town of Surfside.

... Engineers considered the pros and cons of demolishing what is left standing of the southern section of the 12-story building. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he was preparing for the possibility. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava will make a decision.

“Once the decision is made I didn’t want there to be like another day setting up the demolition if that was the decision, so I directed my building official to start talking to those demolition companies,” Burkett said."

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42 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

... Engineers considered the pros and cons of demolishing what is left standing of the southern section of the 12-story building. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he was preparing for the possibility. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava will make a decision.

I feel so badly for this woman — no matter what she decides, people are going to be unhappy. Having to tell the families of the 145 people who are still missing that she decided to call off the rescue has got to be the worst conversation she will ever have in her life.

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42 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I feel so badly for this woman — no matter what she decides, people are going to be unhappy. Having to tell the families of the 145 people who are still missing that she decided to call off the rescue has got to be the worst conversation she will ever have in her life.

It's all so heartbreaking and tragic.  I get so emotional and feel physically ill when I think about what happened and what is happening.  I can't imagine what it's like for anyone involved.  

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19 hours ago, Plum said:

Everyone is jumpy. 

Exclusive: County Officials Order Inspection Of Marina City Club Towers In Marina Del Rey CA

50 year old buildings with crumbling concrete and cracks on the outer walls. Fighting over who is going to pay so nothing gets done. 

I used to own a condo next door to Marina City Club. (You can sorta make them out in the video. They are two high-rise, blue-green glass condos immediately next door, built about 15 years ago.) The news left out the most important point about these condos. Marina Del Rey was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is the largest man-made small craft harbor in the US. Prior to that, it was marshy swamps. Not only are those condos in terrible shape (they were in terrible shape 15 years ago when I bought my condo), they are sitting on land that is at high risk for liquefaction the next time we have an earthquake. And we are very due for a good shake.

https://temblor.net/earthquake-insights/history-reveals-marina-del-reys-achilles-heel-liquefaction-7282/  

 

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4 mins ago https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-surfside-building-collapse-health-coronavirus-pandemic-38c5a0b9b062ed57e304f850255427bf
“SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — Rescue efforts at the site of a partially collapsed Florida condominium building resumed Thursday evening after a 15-hour pause for safety concerns, and officials said they had started planning for the likely demolition of the remaining structure.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the decision about the demolition needs to be made “extremely carefully and methodically,” considering the potential impact on the pile of debris and the effect on the search-and-rescue operations. An engineer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would likely be weeks before officials schedule the demolition.

The rescue work was halted shortly after 2 a.m. amid concerns about the stability of the part of the tower that still stands. Crews noticed widening cracks and up to a foot of movement in a large column.

Work resumed shortly before 5 p.m. after the site was evaluated by structural engineers, Cava said, describing firefighters as “really, really excited out there.”

“We will continue to search feverishly, as we have done all along in the parts of the collapse that we currently have access to,” she said.

Scott Nacheman, a FEMA structures specialist, said operations were paused after sensors detected movement. It was later determined that the building itself had not moved, but there was movement in the debris pile below and in debris on the building “of significant size,” Nacheman said Thursday.

Nacheman said additional sensors were added to the site.

“Right now, we’re in a position where we feel it is safe to continue operations. We’ve done so, and monitoring will continue indefinitely until the operations are complete,” he said.

The stoppage had threatened to dim hopes for finding anyone alive in the debris a week after the tower came down. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said the halt was worrisome since “minutes and hours matter, lives are at stake.””

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https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/06/28/88-year-old-surfside-condo-survivor-remembers-those-who-helped-her-to-safety/
“SURFSIDE, Fla. – She is 88 years old and has lived in Champlain Towers for 40 years.

Now, Esther Gorfinkel is living with her son and daughter-in-law and thanking the neighbors who helped her out of the building as it collapsed to the ground on Thursday in the wee hours of the morning.

“Who would think that something like this would happen at 1:30 in the morning? In your life? In my old age that I would see something so horrible like this?” Gorfinkel said.

She was in her fifth floor apartment when she said she was in bed and her whole apartment shook. She was wearing just a nightgown when she got up to see what was happening.

“I put on a house coat,” Gorfinkel said.

Alone and unsure of what happened and wearing only slippers on her feet, she headed down the stairwell, slowly and in shock, she said.

When she reached the garage, help appeared behind her. A group of neighbors from the 11th floor were there and carried her to safety.

“They push me out and we got into water. And then they push me, push me and push me. There was a lot of debris and we saw a hole that you can see outside. They push me. They pick me up,” Gorfinkel said.

She said a man hung her on his back.

“I saw the sky. I knew I will be safe,” Gorfinkel said.

Local 10 News interviewed Albert Aguero last week. He was one of the men who carried the elderly woman out.

“She was obviously shaken. She was like, ‘I’ve lived a good life. I’m good. I was like, ‘No, no, you’re going to make it to your 89th birthday, I promise.’ And we got her out,” Aguero said.

We asked Gorfinkel if she remembered them telling her not to worry and that she would make it to her 89th birthday.

“Yes, because I told him, I just came 88 this month and he said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re gonna be 89,’ ” she said.

She told us she remembered everything about the encounter.

Her son, Marcos Garfinkel, has a message for those who helped his mother.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys are heroes. Angels. They saved my mom’s life,” he said.”

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https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/miami-florida-building-collapse-07-02-21/index.html “1 hr 17 min ago

Relocation payments claims will be made for Surfside collapse victims who are part of civil lawsuit group

From CNN’s David Shortell

Victims of the Surfside, Florida, building collapse should soon be able to claim up to $10,000 each for relocation costs, a Florida judge said Friday, outlining the first payouts available to residents who are part of an ongoing group of civil lawsuits against the Champlain Towers South condominium board. 

At a hearing in Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Judge Michael Hanzman directed a receiver, who had been newly installed, to “immediately provide notice to the victims of this tragedy that there are assistance payments that are approved and available.”

Up to $2,000 will also be available for victim end-of-life costs, Hanzman said. 

Earlier in the hearing, an attorney for the condominium board said that the surviving board members — one is still unaccounted for, he said — had unanimously voted on Thursday to hand over their responsibility in managing victim payouts to a receiver, Michael Goldberg. 

“The board not only made that vote but asked me to pass along to the court and to all parties of interest the board’s commitment to support Mr. Goldberg in his mission in order to maximize his efforts for the benefit of all of the victims of this tragedy,” said Paul Singerman, the board’s attorney. 

The condominium board is insured for about $48 million across different providers. Earlier this week, one of the companies agreed to offer up its full $2 million policy to the victims. 

The early payouts could come from that first pot of insurance money, Hanzman suggested. 

Hanzman directed the receiver Friday to also investigate the value of the building’s real estate as another potential source of victim compensation.

Hanzman said he expects the cases to be wrapped up within one year and set a follow-up hearing for Wednesday. “

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https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/02/us/engineering-firm-october-letter-champlain-towers/index.html
Firm held off on repairs because of stability issues in months before Surfside building collapse

(CNN) — An engineering firm hired for Champlain Towers South's milestone recertification found "deep" concrete deterioration near the pool but couldn't perform repairs, in part, because of concerns about stability, according to an October letter. 

Maryland-based Morabito Consultants also was hamstrung because it needed access to the inside of the pool, which "was to remain in service for the duration of this work," the firm said in its letter. 

Because the pool couldn't be closed and Morabito had stability concerns, tower management was advised that work in the pool area "would be limited to removal of only loose concrete," the letter said.

Morabito also directed Concrete Protection & Restoration Inc. to perform "exploratory demolition" in five areas on the building's first floor, and CPR found "some curious results as it pertained to the structural slab's depth," the letter said, without elaborating. 

… 

The 2018 report did not indicate the structure was at risk of collapsing, nor did Wodnicki's letter to residents.

In the October letter, Morabito said repair work could not be done because it would "affect the stability of the remaining adjacent concrete constructions." The firm did not specify which constructions might be destabilized, and it's unclear if the engineers meant nearby buildings or other structures within Champlain Towers South. But the firm noted concrete deterioration deep within the pool's wall and corbel, a type of support structure, requiring "aggressive excavation of concrete."

Morabito and CPR removed loose concrete from the perimeter of the pool pump room, which was showing signs of cracking and which presented "a fall hazard," the October letter said. 

As for the unspecified "curious results" of the excavation work, Morabito requested "that additional core work be performed by CPR to confirm/clear-up said results," Morabito said in the letter. 

Other damage around building highlighted

Among other work done, according to the letter: CPR replaced the bottom of a deteriorating stair column base with hollow steel structural sections; conducted exploratory demolition on the underside of an eave that required "removal and reconstruction"; and removed all loose "cracked, spalled, deteriorated, and delaminated concrete" and damaged stucco from the underside of balcony eaves on 114 of the building's 136 units, the letter said. 

According to the letter, CPR also performed exploratory demolition on five 3-square-foot sections of the building and planned to demolish paver systems at the pool deck, concrete in the parking area and drive aisle, and the planters down to the existing waterproofing layer -- all of which were cited in the 2018 report and the April letter to condo owners. 

Photos accompanying the report included the rusty stairwell column that was replaced, the pool corbel's "loose, cracked, spalled deteriorated concrete" and exposed rebar, water damage to balcony eaves, and other damage to eaves and stucco on the building.

… 

The full scope of the concrete work needed at Champlain Towers South remains unclear, as does the specific work contracted to Morabito Consultants and CPR. Whether the work had been scheduled or was under way is also unknown.”

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 128 people unaccounted for, 18 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated donation info)

😞 https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/02/us/7-year-old-condo-collapse-victim/index.html

“(CNN) — A member of City of Miami Fire-Rescue has lost his 7-year-old daughter in the Surfside, Florida, building collapse, officials said Friday.

The girl's remains were recovered Thursday night in the rubble by members of the department's urban search and rescue team, Chief Joseph Zahralban said in a statement. 

The chief asked for privacy for the family and the fire department "while we grieve our loss and support our own."

Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said the firefighter was not part of that rescue process. His task force comrades found the remains and then called him over, Cominsky told reporters.

Florida Task Force 2 (FL-TF2) was working the rescue on Thursday evening.

"When we come across an individual, you know, obviously we pay our respect, we have a process. I'm not going to go into details, but with different religious faiths, we have a process that we started from the very, very beginning, and we comply with that," Cominsky said. 

"I want to emphasize ... we do that. We honor all the loved ones that we've lost," said Cominsky. 

The death toll in last week's collapse in the Florida city now stands at 20. The bodies of two other children , ages 4 and 10, have been previously recovered at the site.”

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 126 people unaccounted for, 22 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated donation info)

https://miami.cbslocal.com/2021/07/02/crestview-towers-evacuated-north-miami-beach/

City Of North Miami Beach Orders Immediate Closure, Evacuation Of 156-Unit Condo

CBSMiami.com TeamJuly 2, 2021 at 6:23 pm

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The City of North Miami Beach has ordered the immediate closure of The Crestview Towers Condominium and the evacuation of its residents.

The move follows a building inspection report turned in by the condo association Friday.

It shows unsafe structural and electrical conditions. 

It is a 156-unit building in the 2000 block of Northeast 164th Street. 

The city says it is evacuating everyone out of an abundance of caution. 

City officials plan to provide more information soon.”

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They might demolish the remaining tower this Sunday, much sooner than initially planned. They are worried Hurricane Elsa will bring it down. They do not want it falling west onto Collins Avenue, one of Miami Beach’s major roads, because debris could damage infrastructure and removing it would take a long time and tie up traffic. And of course, they do not want it falling and harming neighboring north and south buildings. If they do demo it on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how they do so.

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https://abcnews.go.com/US/surfside-building-collapse-latest-search-rescue-resumes-officials/story?id=78626971

“Levine Cava said that the contract has been signed for the demolition of the building and Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will pay for the costs of the demolition and it will "minimally' affect rescue efforts. It comes after the Mayor signed an emergency order authorizing the demolition of the rest of the condominium "in the interest of public health and safety" on Friday.

"The building is too unsafe to let people in," DeSantis said. "This will protect our search and rescue teams because we don't know when it will fall over."

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said that the remainder of the building could be coming down "as early as tomorrow." Experts continue on the scene to evaluate how the building will be brought down.

Mayor Burkett noted that the push to take down the building faster than originally stated was because of Tropical Storm Elsa's winds.

The Fire Rescue Chief said that a tarp will cover the area that has been searched, noting that some areas of the wreckage has not yet been searched.

Officials also said six rescue workers from one task force have tested positive for COVID-19 and have since left the scene.“

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 124 people unaccounted for, 24 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated donation info)

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252564908.html
“Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Ray Jadallah said the demolition of the rest of the Champlain Towers South building will likely happen some time late Sunday night. 

During a briefing he conducted with family members of the unaccounted for at 9:30 a.m., Jadallah said demolition professionals were about 80% finished drilling small holes into the foundation of the building. Once the drilling of those holes is complete, small explosive charges will be placed in them.

Jadallah said a more defined timeline for when the building would be brought down would be established after a meeting with the demolition company and other officials at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

“We’re looking at some time late tonight,” Jadallah said. 

Jadallah said search and rescue operations are planned to resume within an hour after the controlled implosion, and hopefully first responders would then be able to access areas of the property they had not been able to reach up until now.”

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1 hour ago, Seasider too said:

 

These poor families just need to get this nightmare behind them. 

This article is bittersweet 😞 

https://apnews.com/article/fl-state-wire-surfside-building-collapse-fe86152d9356b629e8c0217bbdbc85c5
““On the first morning that I was here, came out from the garage and looked down and we see a wedding photo. Obviously from ’70s, maybe early ’80s, in a synagogue,” said Abo, who is the medical director for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Urban Search and Rescue Team.

His primary responsibility is to provide medical care for a team of 80-plus firefighters, paramedics, engineers, and search and rescue dogs that have been working for the past week at the site. 

Abo set the photo aside, meaning to try to bring it later to a local synagogue. 

But as the search through the layers of concrete and metal have continued over the past week, Abo and others kept finding photos that he knew needed saving. 

“And then all of the sudden we find some more wedding photos, or a bar mitzvah photo, or some vacation photos,” Abo said Wednesday. “And it really started building up. And then when we started getting access to other rooms, bedrooms and living rooms and things like that, you really start to piece together who was here.”

Abo has spent his career helping others when disaster strikes, responding to the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But this building collapse has been different for him, because he personally knows four people who remain missing. 

Many of the items — mostly photos, but also diplomas, passports and IDs — are stored in boxes near the collapse site. He’s also been collecting toys, some of which have been placed at a public memorial along a fence near the building. 

“One of the things that is over there that really hit home for me was one of those old Hess toy trucks that used to come out every holiday season. My grandfather used to get me one every year,” Abo said. “You just see this and you’re just like thinking about who would have been playing with it.”

The plan is to find a way to get those precious memories back into the hands of family members. Abo is hoping to get help, maybe from volunteers or archivists, to organize the items and help identify the families or owners. 

“Maybe I’m able to reunite a victim in this to give them a piece because they lost everything,” Abo said. “But maybe I’m also able to give families some closure.””

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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

This article is bittersweet 😞 

https://apnews.com/article/fl-state-wire-surfside-building-collapse-fe86152d9356b629e8c0217bbdbc85c5
““On the first morning that I was here, came out from the garage and looked down and we see a wedding photo. Obviously from ’70s, maybe early ’80s, in a synagogue,” said Abo, who is the medical director for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Urban Search and Rescue Team.

His primary responsibility is to provide medical care for a team of 80-plus firefighters, paramedics, engineers, and search and rescue dogs that have been working for the past week at the site. 

Abo set the photo aside, meaning to try to bring it later to a local synagogue. 

But as the search through the layers of concrete and metal have continued over the past week, Abo and others kept finding photos that he knew needed saving. 

“And then all of the sudden we find some more wedding photos, or a bar mitzvah photo, or some vacation photos,” Abo said Wednesday. “And it really started building up. And then when we started getting access to other rooms, bedrooms and living rooms and things like that, you really start to piece together who was here.”

Abo has spent his career helping others when disaster strikes, responding to the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But this building collapse has been different for him, because he personally knows four people who remain missing. 

Many of the items — mostly photos, but also diplomas, passports and IDs — are stored in boxes near the collapse site. He’s also been collecting toys, some of which have been placed at a public memorial along a fence near the building. 

“One of the things that is over there that really hit home for me was one of those old Hess toy trucks that used to come out every holiday season. My grandfather used to get me one every year,” Abo said. “You just see this and you’re just like thinking about who would have been playing with it.”

The plan is to find a way to get those precious memories back into the hands of family members. Abo is hoping to get help, maybe from volunteers or archivists, to organize the items and help identify the families or owners. 

“Maybe I’m able to reunite a victim in this to give them a piece because they lost everything,” Abo said. “But maybe I’m also able to give families some closure.””

This is unbelievably kind of this man.  

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The demo appeared to go as planned and was no small feat considering the short time frame they had to devise a plan and carry it out. I read the group that did it are top notch.

Regardless, I feel so awful for the residents. A tragedy that probably could have been avoided. 

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https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/demolition-teams-prepare-to-demolish-remainder-of-collapsed-surfside-condo/2487680/
“The mayor said crews used a special type of demolition known as energetic felling. 

Energetic felling is a type of explosives demolition that is used to bring down structures in place and keep the collapse to a confined area, Levine Cava said.

… 

State officials said they hired the BG Group, a general contractor based in Delray, to lead the demolition. They did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how the firm was selected, but a contract for the projects calls for the state to pay the company $935,000.

A spokesperson for the state’s Division of Emergency Management said the company is subcontracting with Maryland-based Controlled Demolition Inc., which experts say is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that demolishes structures using explosives.

Surfside Collapse Coverage:

Some families previously asked if they would be able to return to the building to retrieve personal belongings before the demolition, but officials said they were not be allowed.

Levine Cava said that rescue teams are using a unique system for cataloging the personal items found in the rubble of the collapse. 

Two more bodies were found at the site Saturday, bringing the death toll to 24, 121 remain unaccounted for.”

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 121 people unaccounted for, 24 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated demolition done)
  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 117 people unaccounted for, 28 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated demolition done)

https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-fl-state-wire-florida-surfside-building-collapse-bd072f3a85777f2d0be8ef19d2499b33
“SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — A fire official says four more victims have been found in the rubble of a collapsed condominium building in Florida, bringing the death toll to 32. 

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah gave the news to family members during a closed-door morning briefing Tuesday. He said rescuers have also been locating more human remains.

Jadallah said there was a two-hour delay early Tuesday as a result of lightning. He said workers have removed 5.5 million pounds of debris from the pile.”

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 113 people unaccounted for, 32 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated demolition done)

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/search-survivors-14th-day-after-miami-condo-collapse-2021-07-07/
“SURFSIDE, Fla., July 7 (Reuters) - Search and rescue workers on Wednesday recovered 10 more bodies from the rubble of an apartment block outside Miami that collapsed last month, bringing the death toll to 46, as hopes faded that any of the 94 people still unaccounted for would be found alive.

The effort to locate survivors of the Champlain Towers South building continued in warm, dry conditions with the threat from Tropical Storm Elsa, battering the opposite side of Florida, having receded.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told a briefing that in addition to the 46 confirmed dead, 94 others who may have been inside the building in Surfside when it partially collapsed on June 24 were still unaccounted for.

Levine Cava, who shed tears as she repeated her remarks in Spanish, said the rescue effort had been made easier by the planned demolition on Sunday night of the half of building that had remained standing.“

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 94 people unaccounted for, 46 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (updated demolition done)

This story is so heartbreaking. I keep thinking of those SAR workers - my understanding from prior research is that the Miami-Dade SAR team are a truly elite group with some of the best equipment and training in the world - with high tech stuff most don't have. They are the best, and go all over the world to help. And here they are, in their own backyard, and not able to find survivors. It must be so emotionally devastating for them. 

(it is also VERY hard on the dogs to find so many non survivors)

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😞   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252617613.html

"Death toll rises to 54, 86 people still missing

8 p.m.: The death toll in the Surfside collapse now stands at 54 after 18 victims were pulled from the rubble Wednesday — the most found in any 12-hour or 24-period. Four of the victims identified Wednesday were engineer Simon Segal, 80, Elaine Sabino, 71, and Graciela and Gino Cattarossi, whose daughter and 7-year-old granddaughter also died in the collapse. Their other daughter, Andrea, is still missing.

There are still 86 people missing in the rubble, and while several of the nine search grid sections have been “de-layered,” there are still other areas to be cleared.

The number of people unaccounted for has fluctuated as detectives try to verify the names of the missing victims, notify family and confirm who was and was not in the building at the time of the collapse.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue official tells families it’s now a recovery mission

4:50 p.m.: Fire authorities said Wednesday there is no longer hope that there are any survivors of the June 24 Surfside collapse and that they will transition their rescue mission to a search-and-recovery operation.

Miami-Dade Fire Chief of Operations Ray Jaddallah told families of those still unaccounted for in the collapse during a private briefing that the change was “some of the hardest news I’ve ever had to deliver in my professional career.”

“It has been determined that we are going to transition from search and rescue to search and recovery this evening,” Jadallah said."

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 86 people unaccounted for, 54 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (changed to Search & Recovery)

@Seasider too@Lady Florida.@BeachGal insurance issues.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252621538.html

"Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the only Florida counties that require aging high-rises to go through a reinspection after they reach 40 years of age. No other Florida counties mandate routine inspection after a building is built.

...

In the absence of broader state and county regulation, the insurance industry in Florida has begun its own assessment of its liability in the condominium market. Insurance companies sent letters to owners of condominiums 40 years and older in South Florida last week, asking for proof that their buildings have passed all inspections or they will lose their coverage.

The destruction of the Surfside condo has rattled the insurance industry that had already considered older condos on the coast — with their hurricane exposure, their common ownership structure and reputation for delaying maintenance — a high risk, experts said."

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16 hours ago, Arcadia said:

😞   https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252617613.html

"Death toll rises to 54, 86 people still missing

 

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue official tells families it’s now a recovery mission

4:50 p.m.: Fire authorities said Wednesday there is no longer hope that there are any survivors of the June 24 Surfside collapse and that they will transition their rescue mission to a search-and-recovery operation.

Miami-Dade Fire Chief of Operations Ray Jaddallah told families of those still unaccounted for in the collapse during a private briefing that the change was “some of the hardest news I’ve ever had to deliver in my professional career.”

“It has been determined that we are going to transition from search and rescue to search and recovery this evening,” Jadallah said."

It's up to 60 now, with 80 unaccounted for. 

https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-miami-area-condo-collapse/2021/07/08/1014232427/florida-condo-death-toll-rises-surfside-search-ends

I'm sure it was sad for the SAR team to move from rescue to recovery. This whole thing is just so heartbreaking. 

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 80 people unaccounted for, 60 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (changed to Search & Recovery)

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/08/us/miami-dade-building-collapse-thursday/index.html

“Surfside urges condos to hire engineers, inspect foundations 

Condo associations in Surfside will soon receive letters signed by the town mayor advising them to take steps to give residents confidence their buildings are safe. 

The Town of Surfside shared a copy of the letter with CNN. It provides recommendations for all buildings east of Collins Avenue, regardless of the age of the building, including retaining a structural engineer to review structural drawings and perform a basement review, as well as a geotechnical engineer to review the foundation.

"The recommendations are made in an abundance of caution based on the current status of the investigation," the letter said. "They are intended to serve as an interim methodology to afford residents some peace of mind until the forensic investigation progresses further."”

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20 hours ago, Arcadia said:

@Seasider too@Lady Florida.@BeachGal insurance issues.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252621538.html

"Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the only Florida counties that require aging high-rises to go through a reinspection after they reach 40 years of age. No other Florida counties mandate routine inspection after a building is built. . . . “

The 40-year inspection is pretty thorough and can only be conducted by a Special Investigator, someone trained in the problems that might be found in buildings on the coast. It would probably be a good idea to consider inspections starting earlier, though, and I think that might eventually occur.

There appear to be numerous factors that led to the collapse but we will have to wait until they have investigated thoroughly.

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 62 people unaccounted for, 78 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (changed to Search & Recovery)

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252671668.html
“11:15am

As excavators turned over heaps of broken cement and twisted steel, smaller backhoes combed through the pile — no longer in search of survivors but victims, 14 more of whom were found in the rubble overnight.

The overnight recovery raises the death toll to 78 people who have died since part of the Champlain Towers South condo collapsed before dawn on June 24. At least 47 of the dead have been identified and their families notified, Levine Cava said. There are 62 people still missing.”

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This news made me cry, sorry for the massive font size: 

Binx, cat who lived in the Champlain Towers South, was found near collapse site and reunited with family, mayor says

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

 

Updated 8:34 PM ET, Fri July 9, 2021

 
(CNN)Binx, a cat who lived on the ninth floor of the Champlain Towers South, was reunited with his family on Friday after volunteers found him near the site of the collapse, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a news conference.
"After 16 long and extremely difficult days, I'm happy to be able to share a small piece of good news," the mayor said Friday evening.
Levine Cava said there are people who feed the cats in the area surrounding the collapse site and one of the volunteers thought they recognized the cat and brought it to an animal shelter, "where it was positively identified" as belonging to one of the families in the building.
The mayor did not identify the family that the cat belongs to.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart and all of us who are so happy to have played a role in returning Binx with his family," Levine Cava said.
"I'm glad that this small miracle would bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today, and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy," she added.
When asked by a reporter where the cat was found, the mayor said Binx was "in the vicinity" of the site.
"There are a lot of cats in the area, and we have been sending out our Animal Services Department with live traps to find cats, and we also have supported those who are volunteering to feed the cats," she said.
The death toll in the condo collapse now stands at 79, the mayor said in the Friday briefing, and of those, 53 victims have been identified. Currently, 61 people are potentially unaccounted for, she added.
Edited by elegantlion
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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 22 people unaccounted for, 94 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (changed to Search & Recovery)

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/14/us/florida-condo-collapse-building-inspections-invs/index.html

“Now, state and local officials and real estate experts around Florida are questioning whether periodic, structural inspections of buildings should become mandatory statewide, and what role government inspectors should play. 

Some experts say the large number of inspections at Champlain Towers South, at a time when broader flaws in the building seemed to fly under the radar in the town government, raises questions about the priorities and incentives in Florida's building regulations. Towns and cities collect fees from permits and permit-related inspections -- while larger reviews of structural safety are the responsibility of property owners.

The analysis found that the town conducted more than a dozen inspections at the building every year since 2013, with more than 100 in 2018. The most common inspections were of permits for "alterations and repairs," exterior windows and doors, and air conditioning replacement. 

On some days, multiple inspectors visited the building on the same day. Inspections that were listed with a status of "cancelled" were excluded from the analysis. 

In addition, CNN obtained through a public records request a separate document from the town listing inspections since October 1, 2019, after the department changed its record-keeping system. That showed that inspectors conducted more than a dozen inspections at Champlain Towers South in both 2020 and 2021, although not as frequently as the two years prior -- likely in part due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The most recent was an inspection by the town's head building official, Jim McGuinness, who reviewed work happening on the building's roof on June 23, the day before the collapse. McGuinness has said he saw no signs on the roof that the building was in danger of toppling. 

In an interview, McGuinness pushed back against the notion that the town's inspectors have focused more on permitting issues than structural integrity and said buildings must be certified for compliance with all building codes before they are occupied. 

"Our job is life safety in buildings. Period. That's our job," McGuinness told CNN, though he added that building owners have responsibility to maintain their properties. "We're the guys who help people help themselves." 

McGuinness said in light of the collapse, the town's inspectors are now examining buildings for "any signs of trouble." He added that buildings over 30 years old should begin assessments of their own ahead of their 40-year deadlines. 

Florida building officials point out that the inspectors who conducted those dozens of inspections weren't assigned to scour the building's concrete for cracks or hunt for water damage. Claudio Grande, a retired building official and inspector who worked for multiple South Florida cities, said that building officials' jobs focused on the enforcement of permitting issues instead of structural reviews because that's what the Florida building code requires. 

"The fact is that we depend on the engineers to provide us a report" about whether a building is safe, he said, referring to engineers hired by building owners. 

And Guillermo Olmedillo, a former town manager for Surfside, noted that the inspectors sent to buildings to inspect permits are experts in specific trades, like air conditioning repair or electrical wiring, not necessarily structural engineering.

"It's like doctors: If I go to a cardiologist, can he tell me there is something wrong with my endocrinology?" Olmedillo asked. 

Still, he noted that if inspectors saw concerning issues they could flag it to other city officials or employees. 

Several contractors who did work at units in Champlain Towers South told CNN that the inspectors from the town were diligent and professional. 

Jeff Rose, a general contractor whose parents owned a unit in the building (and weren't there when it collapsed), said he didn't blame town inspectors who were sent to the building to review permits for not sounding the alarm on the building's safety. 

"If you're going to check out somebody's flooring, you get out of your car, check in with security, get into the elevator, and check out the floor of that unit, and that's it," said Rose, who has worked in about a dozen units in Champlain Towers South over the years. "Never would you start randomly walking around a whole building to inspect it." 

After the collapse, he said, he anticipated the rules would change to require more regular inspections of broader structural issues and "give people the peace of mind they need." 

At least one official in the town government had seen the 2018 report from the engineer warning of "major structural damage." Rosendo Prieto, the town's former head building official, was sent a copy of the report by a condo board member, but told residents that their building was "in very good shape" just a few days later, according to minutes of a board meeting obtained by CNN. 

Grande, the retired official, said Prieto -- who has not responded to CNN's requests for comment -- should have prioritized the issue and made sure the association moved swiftly to address the damage.

"He looked at the report that basically said the building was unsafe and needed priority and he went ahead and told the condo association, 'Your building is in good shape. Don't worry about it,'" Grande said.”

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 8 people unaccounted for, 97 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (changed to Search & Recovery)

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/15/us/miami-dade-building-collapse-thursday/index.html

"On the original collapse site we are almost at the bottom," Alvaro Zabaleta, MDPD police spokesperson, told CNN. "Does that mean we are almost done with the search? No. Until we clear the entire site and find no more human remains we are not done."

Although there is no longer hope of finding survivors in the rubble, crews have been working nearly non-stop since the collapse on June 24, aside from intermittent issues related to dangerous conditions brought by weather and shifting debris.

Officials in the area promised victims' families to work diligently until all of their loved ones are recovered, a task that is becoming more time sensitive.

"The process of making identifications has become more difficult as time goes on," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. "We must rely heavily on the work of the medical examiner's office ... to identify human remains. The process is very methodical and it's careful and it does take time," she said.

In the search, 240 people are accounted for, 97 victims have been recovered, 90 of which have been identified and 88 next of kin have been notified, a release from Miami-Dade County said. Eight people remain unaccounted for, and all of them have open missing persons reports with the Miami-Dade Police Department."

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https://www.npr.org/2021/07/14/1016081827/judge-orders-sale-of-the-collapsed-condo-but-ideas-differ-on-what-to-do-with-the

"MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — A Florida judge on Wednesday approved the sale of the oceanfront property where a collapsed Florida condominium building once stood, with proceeds intended to benefit victims of the deadly disaster.

At a hearing, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman ordered that the process begin to sell the site of Champlain Towers South, which could fetch $100 million to $110 million according to court records.

The court-appointed receiver handling finances related to the condo, attorney Michael Goldberg, said the judge wants the sale to move quickly.

"He wants us to start exploring a potential sale," Goldberg said of the judge in an email. "He did say he wants the land to be sold and the proceeds to go directly to the victims as soon as possible."

Goldberg said the decision did not necessarily preclude a buyer from turning at least a portion of the site into a memorial, as some people have advocated. Other survivors want the structure rebuilt so they can move back in.

...

The judge put the lawsuits on a fast track and authorized Goldberg to begin disbursing Champlain Towers insurance money to the victims and families.

The judge also approved returning $2.4 million in deposits that some Champlain condo owners had already made toward an assessment to pay for $15 million in planned major repairs.

In nearby Miami Beach, residents of an 82-year-old, two-story apartment building were ordered to evacuate because of concrete deterioration. The city ordered the evacuation of Devon Apartments on Monday and is giving residents until next Monday to leave the building, city spokeswoman Melissa Berthier said in an email Wednesday.

The apartment building is about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from Champlain Towers South.

After the collapse, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava ordered an audit of all buildings over 40 years old. A condominium in nearby North Miami Beach also was ordered evacuated over safety concerns shortly after that audit started.

During a news conference Tuesday, Levine Cava said the number of people considered missing in the collapse has dwindled as authorities work to identify everyone connected to the building. The mayor said 14 people remain unaccounted for, which includes 10 victims whose bodies have been recovered but not yet identified — leaving potentially four more victims to be found."

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https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2021/07/update-nists-investigation-champlain-towers-south-collapse

"Update on NIST’s Investigation of the Champlain Towers South Collapse

NIST’s work right now is focused on ensuring that information and evidence related to the June 24, 2021, partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium is identified, collected and preserved, in support of NIST’s technical investigation into the likely cause of the collapse.

Remote Sensing of the Site

NIST staff members are coordinating and leading remote sensing efforts to determine where pieces of evidence were located in the debris pile. They are supported by experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Florida State University, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 

Lidar — which sends out rapid pulses of light and records the reflections to create a type of map — is being used to record the locations of building materials or elements of potential interest and changes to the site as debris is removed. NIST is taking daily high- and low-resolution lidar scans of the site from balconies on adjacent buildings to the north and south of the Champlain Towers South site. Time-lapse cameras are also recording the rapidly changing scene.

Drones carrying cameras are being flown over the site to help with the geotagging of evidence and to capture changes at the site. Geotagging provides information on the exact location of evidence before it is removed. 

Evidence Tagging and Preservation

The NIST team continues to refine and update procedures for evidence identification, marking and tagging, and has collected more than 200 building elements including columns, beams and pieces of concrete slab. All of these items are currently being preserved by the Miami-Dade Police Department. 

NIST will be deploying an electronic evidence tagging system that uses RFID chips so that electronic records are associated with every piece of evidence collected."

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  • Arcadia changed the title to News: 8 people unaccounted for, 97 fatalities after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida (Update on NIST’s Investigation)

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