Surfside Florida Collapse

Authorities Demolish Remaining Parts Of Surfside Condo Building, Expanding Rescue Effort

The partially collapsed condominium in Surfside, Florida, was demolished Sunday night ahead of an upcoming tropical storm and has created more room for search-and-rescue efforts, the Associated Press reported.

The rescue effort continued after the demolition of the remaining portions of Champlain Towers South Sunday, which provided workers with additional space to look for the remaining 115 missing people, the AP reported. Since the demolition, three more victims have been discovered and the death toll is now at 27, according to Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah.

“As a result of the contractor who brought it down, he did it in such a way that literally we actually were back on the original pile in less than 20 minutes,” Jadallah said, according to the AP.

The building was in such unstable condition that residents were not allowed to retrieve any of their belongings before the demolition,

The Wall Street Journal reported. Officials made the decision to bring the building down before Tropical Storm Elsa hit Florida, which is expected to make landfall Tuesday.

Residents who fled without their pets were not allowed to go back into the building and get them, but some survivors pleaded with officials to let them try, the WSJ reported.

Paula Phillips, an attorney for a resident asked the court “to allow people the freedom to decide whether they want to go into the building and retrieve these animals,” the WSJ reported. Judge Michael A. Hanzman denied residents’ motion to re-enter the partially collapsed building.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said rescuers had used drones, thermal devices and traps to search for missing animals, but none had been located, the WSJ reported.

“This demolition is a very tragic situation not only for those who are still hoping to find loved ones who have survived but also to the survivor families who got out of the building and all of whose belongings are in that apartment building,” said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at a press conference Sunday night before the detonation, the WSJ reported.

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