Mayor Cava Signs Demolition Order; Death Toll At 22, 126 Remain Unaccounted – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The death toll from the collapse of Champlain Towers South rose to 22 on Friday.

On Friday afternoon, Miami-Dade Mayoress Daniella Levine Cava said two other victims had been recovered. She also said 126 are still missing.

CONTINUE READING: On the trail of the tropics: Cat.-No. 1 Hurricane Elsa tracking in our general direction

Search and rescue teams at the site of the partially collapsed Surfside condo spent an additional 24 hours looking for signs of life.

Everyone has an eye on Hurricane Elsa and the impact it could have on the searches and the part of the building that did not collapse.

The mayor signed an executive order to demolish the rest of the unstable structure.

“It will take at least a few weeks for the engineers to find the best way to collapse the building,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Friday.

“It is important to note that we are still evaluating all possible impacts and determining the best timing for the actual demolition. It’s important to sign the order now so we can act quickly, ”she added. “The building poses a threat to public health and safety and it is important to demolish it as soon as possible to protect our community.”

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he would like the demolition to happen sooner rather than later.

“We have a possible hurricane that could blow this building the wrong way. It could create a mess of immense proportions, ”said Burkett.

While people are working on site, the search for answers intensifies behind the scenes.

“Everyone in America picked it up and said it could have been me,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the South Florida congresswoman.

She said the federal agency tasked with finding the cause of the collapse will be able to provide insights into the causes in the coming months.

The results are likely to have an impact on all construction projects in the future.

“This has to be a one-off event so we don’t have loopholes in the security measures we take,” she added.

Earlier in the day, the mayor said: “It goes without saying that every night since last Wednesday has been extremely difficult for everyone and especially for the families affected. But last night was unique, it was more difficult for our first responders, ”said Levine Cava. “These men and women pay an enormous human toll every day. I ask you to keep them all in your thoughts and prayers. “

Miami Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban made the following statement:

“Our hearts and prayers go with the families affected by this terrible tragedy. We can confirm that a member of our Miami City Fire Department family lost their 7-year-old daughter in the breakdown. It was recovered last night by members of our Urban Search and Rescue Team, Florida Task Force 2. ”

CONTINUE READING: City of North Miami Beach Orders Immediate Closure and Evacuation of 156 Unit Condos

“I have two children and a seven year old son, and the thought of losing him like this is unimaginable. This tragedy haunted so many of us because so many of us know someone who was in the building or was affected by this tragedy. Now we know it was someone from our family, our fire department family, ”said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Those recovered from the rubble and identified are Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83 and Gladys Lozano, 79; Manuel LaFont, 54; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74; Frank Kleiman, 55; Michael-David Altmann, 50; Hilda Noriega, 92; Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21; Anna Ortiz, 46, her son Luis Bermudez, 26; Anaely Rodriguez, 42; Marcus Guara, her children, 10-year-old Lucia Guara and 4-year-old Emma Guara, Magaly Delgado, 80, Bonnie Epstein, 56, Claudio Bonnefoy, 85, Maira Obias-Bonnefoy, 69, and a 7-year-old who wanted the family do not identify.

After searches on the site were suspended for most of the day on Thursday due to security concerns about the building that was still on the site, there are plans to demolish it.

“We are continuing our ongoing assessment of all factors and effects related to the demolition of the building. While search and rescue remains a top priority and it is important to emphasize as our engineer explained last night, a demolition cannot happen overnight. In fact, it takes weeks to demolish a building, ”said Levine Cava.

On Friday, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett paid tribute to the incredible efforts of the firefighters, highlighting Miami Dade Fire Department chief Ray Jadallah, who conducted rescue operations and spoke to families on a daily basis.

“He has worked 20 hours a day and slept four hours a night since the beginning. He’s the guy I always see when I’m here and I’m here a lot, ”said Burkett. “Ray was a beacon, a rock, a source of hope for families. He was present at the briefings every day and answered difficult questions. “

Governor Ron DeSantis said the state’s emergency management department continues to work on contingency plans for potential tropical weather impacts from Hurricane Elsa.

For those who want to help families affected by the breakdown, Neighbors 4 Neighbors has set up a fund.

Search and rescue teams have been climbing the rubble, seven concrete and metal, for 9 days.

Fire brigade remains optimistic:

Drilling tirelessly through the layers of cement looking for signs of life.

“Don’t lose hope that we will continue until we get to the bottom of the rubble,” said Juan Mestas, Miami Beach Fire Department chief operations officer.

“There’s a very good chance we’ll hurt anyone below. So the work is tedious and very time consuming. That’s why you only see the buckets out there taking one stone at a time. “

Mestas has responded to disasters around the world, including the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11th.

To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to

MORE NEWS: Family of five from Argentina missing in Surfside

So far, they have raised more than $ 90,000.

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