United States: the rest of the collapsed building in Florida demolished

Authorities demolished the rest of the Surfside building on Sunday evening, before Tropical Storm Elsa hit.

AFP - GIORGIO VIERA

Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

Ten days after the collapse of a twelve-story building in Surfside, near Miami, authorities demolished the rest of the building in a controlled explosion on Sunday evening, before tropical storm Elsa hit. , expected this Tuesday in Florida.

The search for victims was suspended on Saturday to prepare for the demolition, while the death toll is 24 dead and 121 missing.

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According to television footage, the controlled explosion occurred shortly after 10:30 p.m. local time (2:30 UT).

Most of the building, named Champlain Towers South, collapsed in the middle of the night on June 24 in a cloud of dust, one of the most serious urban disasters in US history.

Authorities feared the rest of the building would collapse in turn, threatening the safety of rescuers.

These fears were compounded by

the arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa

, expected Tuesday in Florida.

The demolition in itself is limited to the immediate perimeter of the building,

 " Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine warned Sunday, July 4 at a press conference.

However, there is dust and other particles which are an inevitable consequence of demolitions of any kind, and as a precaution we invite residents of the neighborhood to stay indoors, 

" she added. .

Extend searches

"

 Destroying this building, given that a storm is coming and we were going to have to do it anyway, is prudent,

 " Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Saturday.

For the mayor of the county, it was " 

essential to bring down the building in a controlled manner to extend 

" the search operations, because the teams could not go further due to the risk of further collapses.

On Thursday, President

Joe Biden and his wife

traveled to Florida to comfort families who improvised a wall of remembrance on wire mesh, covered with photos of victims and missing, and adorned with flowers and candles.

Only one survivor, a teenager, was extracted from the rubble in the early hours of relief operations.

No other survivor was found despite the mobilization of rescuers, who came from all over the United States, and even Israel and Mexico.

The maintenance and structure of the building questioned

Among those missing were dozens of Latin Americans from Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay. If the hypothesis of a failure in the maintenance of the building was raised, no clear answer was given. " 

We do not have solid proof of what happened,

 " Joe Biden said Thursday, referring to " 

a series of questions

 ". Among them, the president raised questions about the maintenance and structure of the building, on construction work nearby, on the rising waters.

A report as early as 2018 noted " 

major structural damage 

", as well as " 

cracks

 " in the basement of the building, according to documents released by the town of Surfside.

To read also: Surfside collapse: Miami launches an audit of several buildings at risk

(With

AFP

)

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