Rescue workers, still trying to find survivors, are faced with a major barrier: a fire burning under the rubble, which prevents rescue teams from advancing in their search, especially due to the smoke coming out of it.
According to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava, who provided an update at a press conference Saturday morning, the fire, which has been burning for a while, has spread throughout the place under the rubble, making it difficult to isolate the source and turn it off.
Using infrared technology, firefighters are now trying to make trenches to isolate burning areas and continue the search. Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Kominsky said the conditions in which rescuers are working are extremely harsh.
The fire escalated this evening as efforts were made to remove the debris. We had to stop for a while, before we could get more suitable equipment and start making trenches., It is to explain.
The rain that’s starting to fall on Surfside may help the firefighters in their fight.
The priority of rescuers is always to find survivors. Hope is still possible, according to Daniela Levine Cava, because the pile of debris accumulating at the bottom of the building contains many cracks where there is air.
However, no sign of life has been reported so far, and only one body has been found since the collapse. So 159 people are still missing.
Inspection of the agenda
Ms Levine Kafa said she plans to inspect all potentially problematic buildings in the county, including those that were built nearly 40 years ago.
Earlier on Saturday we learned that the collapsed building, constructed in 1981, Revised in 2018. The consultant who performed the operation concluded that the building had suffered “significant structural damage”, but did not describe it as dangerous.
The mayor said the number of buildings to be audited will be announced soon, saying that at least one building in Surfside requires a review.
This is Champlain Towers North, a nearly identical building to the one that collapsed, built that same year a few hundred meters from the latter, by the same real estate developer.
East Champlain Towers, a building built in a different style and at another time, again by the same developer, will also be inspected.
Earlier Saturday morning, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett advised residents of the North Champlain Towers to evacuate their homes, saying they could not guarantee their safety. Mr Burkett said he was working on a plan to move them temporarily.
This suggestion could turn into an order, if we are to trust the words of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. As he attended the press conference, Mr. DeSantis said the mayor could make an announcement about it by the end of the day.
The governor also indicated that all necessary resources will be deployed to deal with the current situation.