Search and rescue work at the collapse of Florida apartment ends


On Friday, firefighters announced the end of the search for dead bodies at the site of a collapsed apartment building in Florida, ending a month of hard work and removing layers of dangerous debris that had accumulated on several floors.

The collapse of the Champlain Tanan apartment by the sea on June 24 killed 97 people, and at least one missing person has yet to be identified.

Most of the site has been cleaned up and the rubble has been moved to the Miami warehouse. Although forensic scientists are still examining the wreckage in the warehouse, no more bodies can be found where the building once stood.

Except for a few hours after the collapse, the survivors never emerged from the rubble.

At the end of the search, the chief salutes the firefighters

The search team spent several weeks fighting the dangers at the scene, including unstable parts of the building, repeated fires, and the suffocating summer heat and thunderstorms in Florida.

They have gone through more than 13,000 metric tons of broken concrete and steel, often working piece by piece, and finally declared the task complete.

The urban search and rescue team of the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Team left the scene on Friday in a convoy of fire trucks and other vehicles and slowly drove towards their headquarters to participate in a press conference, announcing the official end of the search.

At the ceremony, Fire Chief Allen Kominsky paid tribute to the firefighters who worked 12-hour shifts while camping at the scene.

“This is obviously devastating. This is clearly an overall difficult situation,” Kominsky said. “I am extremely proud of the men and women representing the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Team.”

The family is worried that the victim will be forgotten

Officials declined to clarify whether they still have a group of human remains that pathologists are trying to determine, or whether they are still searching for the last group of remains.

If found, Estelle Hedaya will bring the death toll to 98.

Hedaya is an outgoing 54-year-old who likes to travel and chats with strangers. Her brother Ikey provided DNA samples and visited the site twice to personally check the search work.

“When we entered the second month alone, without any other families, we felt helpless,” he told the Associated Press on Friday. He said he often gets the latest news from the forensic office.

Estelle Hedaya appeared in this June 1st photo. If her body is found, the death toll from the collapse of the Surfside apartment in Florida will reach 98. (Leeds Seals/Associated Press)

Leah Sutton has known Hedaya since she was born, treats her as a daughter, and fears that she will be forgotten.

“They seem to be packing their bags and congratulating everyone for doing a good job. Yes, they deserve all the praise, but after they find Estelle.”

Among the dead Four Canadians.

Ignore the warning

The collapse sparked a race to inspect other aging residential towers in Florida and elsewhere, and raised broader questions about the National Association of Managed Apartments and building safety regulations.

Soon after the disaster, it became clear that the warning about the 12-story Champlain Tanan, which opened in 1981, went unheeded.

An engineering report in 2018 detailed the cracking and degradation of concrete support beams in underground parking lots, as well as other problems that would require nearly US$10 million to repair.

Repairs did not occur, and this year it is estimated to have increased to $15 million because the owner of the building’s 136 units and its management apartment committee debated the cost, especially when the Surfside, Florida inspector told them that the building was safe. After.

Watch | Evidence of structural problems before the apartment collapsed:

There is evidence that an apartment building in the Miami area had structural problems before it collapsed because the search in the rubble entered its sixth day. 1:52

The fate of the website has not yet been determined

A complete collapse is almost unimaginable. As many officials said in the first few days after the disaster, a building of this size will not only collapse outside of a terrorist attack in the United States. Even tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes rarely knock them down.

The final fate of the property where this building was once has not yet been determined.

A judge who presided over several lawsuits filed after the collapse hoped to sell the property at market prices, which would bring in an estimated income of $100 million or more.

Some apartment owners want to rebuild, while others say a memorial should be erected to commemorate the dead.

“All options are on the table,” Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman said at the hearing this week.

On Wednesday, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman listened to tenants share their views on the future of the Champlain Tower South site in Surfside, Florida. (Karl Just/Miami Herald/Associated Press)

The staff worked tirelessly

The first call to 911 was around 1:20 in the morning, when the residents of Chiipurang reported that the parking lot had collapsed. A woman standing on the balcony called her husband who was on a business trip and said that the swimming pool had fallen into the garage.

Then, in an instant, part of the L-shaped building fell directly. Eight seconds later, another part followed closely, with 35 people remaining in the standing part.

In the first few hours, a teenager was rescued, and the firefighters believed that others might still be alive. They derive hope from the noise from the pile that may have been knocked by the survivor, but in retrospect, they said that the sound may have come from moving debris.

Rescuers worked tirelessly, even if the smoke and heat from the fire in the standing part of the building hindered their efforts.

When the temperature rose to more than 30 degrees under the scorching sun, they persisted. Some people worked hard until they needed intravenous injections to replenish their fluids. When Tropical Storm Elsa passed nearby and it poured heavy rain, they continued to move forward, leaving the pile only when lightning appeared.

The still standing part of the building poses another serious threat because it hangs precariously above the workers. The authorities ordered it to be demolished on July 4.

Kominsky said that in the end, the staff found no evidence that anyone who was found dead had survived the initial collapse.





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