Late Sunday, demolition crews used explosives to bring down the remaining section of a South Florida condo building that had collapsed. This was a crucial step in resuming rescue efforts to find victims.
Just before 10:30 p.m., a loud boom of explosions was heard from the structure. The building then began to fall one floor at a time, exploding in dust. As crowds watched from afar, plumes of dust floated into the air.
The Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava stated to the Associated Press that crews were given the go-ahead to continue their search-and rescue mission to find the 121 people who disappeared under the Champlain Tower South wing that fell on June 24. Rescuers have so far recovered 24 bodies. Since the initial hours of the collapse, no one has been saved alive.
Miami-Dade police on Sunday identified David Epstein (58), as one of two dozen victims of the collapsed tower. His remains were found Friday.
She said that the demolition went as planned. It was perfect. It was exactly what we expected.
Crews began to clear some of the debris so that rescuers could make their way into the underground garage where they are most interested. They hoped to see if there were any voids in the rubble that could harbor survivors.
Levine Cava expressed relief at the fact that the search for victims could now continue after it was suspended on Saturday to allow workers to begin rigging with explosives the partially-collapsed tower. This is a dangerous operation that could have led the structure’s collapse.
“I feel relieved because this building was unstable. Levine Cava stated that the building was hindering our search efforts.
Rescuers hope that the demolition will allow them to gain access to the areas of the garage that are of particular interest. Once the new path into the rubble has been established, Albert Cominsky, chief of Miami-Dade Fire, stated that they will return to the original debris pile and begin their search and rescue efforts.
After concerns that the Surfside building was at risk of collapse, the Surfside crew decided to tear it down. This would have a negative impact on their ability to work in certain areas. The work was suspended for 15 hours after parts of the building collapsed on Thursday. The concerns were further heightened by the threat of a storm.
Levine Cava stated, “I believe that all family members understand and appreciate that we are moving in the best possible manner to allow us to complete the search that is necessary.”
To avoid dust from the implosion, residents were asked to remain inside for at least two hours. Local authorities went door-to-door to inform residents of the implosion and asked them to close their windows.
The approaching tropical storm Elsa has given urgency to demolition plans, with forecasts indicating that strong winds could hit the area by Monday. Because of the storm, President Joe Biden declared Florida a state emergency. Federal aid is now possible.
Although the storm is moving westward according to the latest forecasts, South Florida was spared, Robert Molleda, National Hurricane Center meteorologist, said that the area could still feel the effects.
Molleda stated that “primarily tropical storm force gusts” is what Molleda meant, which refers to gusts exceeding 40 mph (64 km/h).
Energetic falling, which relies on gravity and small detonation devices to complete Sunday night’s demolition, is the method used. Levine Cava spoke ahead of the demolition and said that the building should be brought down to its original location, with the debris contained to the immediate surrounding area, so that the collapse does not disturb the mound of debris, which is believed to contain scores of people.
To prevent debris from flying around, officials used tarps.
Officials from the state claimed that they had hired the BG group, a general contractor based out of Delray Beach, Florida to oversee the demolition. Although they did not immediately reply to a question about the selection of the firm, a contract for the project calls for the state’s payment to the company at $935,000.
A spokesperson for Maryland’s Division of Emergency Management stated that the company was subcontracting with Controlled Demolition Inc. in Maryland. Experts say Controlled Demolition Inc. is one of only a few companies in America that demolishes structures with explosives. According to the contract, the company was to place explosives at the basement and lobby levels.
Steve Schwartz, who is a member the National Demolition Association’s Board of Directors, stated that CDI is “probably the best” in its industry. Mark Loizeaux (the company’s president) was described by Schwartz as “cool, calm, and collected.”
Implosions, which use explosives to cause a building to collapse on itself, are usually set off quickly over a few seconds. Scott Homrich is the head of the National Demolition Association, and also runs his own demolition business in Detroit, Michigan. The explosives are set off at regular intervals to cause the building to fall apart.
Officials confirmed that the tragedy was still unfolding during the July Fourth holiday.
Levine Cava stated, “This July 4, we are reminded that patriotism doesn’t just mean loyalty to our country.” “It’s about loyalty one another — to our communities and to those in crisis whose names or stories may never be known, but to whom compassion and resilience are connected.”