The death toll from the collapse of a 12-storey apartment tower north of Miami rose to nine on Sunday, as search and rescue teams continued to search through the rubble for a fourth day, hoping to find survivors.
Surfside Township Mayor Charles Burkett promised residents that authorities were fully focused on rescue operations, but they needed a little more luck. “We are not resource poor,” Burkett said. “We don’t have a resource problem, we have a luck problem. We just need to start getting more luck now.”
Burkett said search and rescue teams made “substantial” progress overnight. Officials said a fire was raging among the rubble and hinder research efforts It was put out around noon on Saturday.
Teams from Israel and Mexico reinforced rescue efforts. A trench 125 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 40 feet deep was created at the site overnight, allowing rescuers to find more bodies and human remains.
The Champlain Towers South building collapse on Thursday left 156 people missing, and raised concerns about the safety of other apartment buildings, particularly the adjacent Champlain Towers North. On Saturday, Burkett said he sought an emergency inspection of this building.
County officials said they will conduct thorough safety reviews of the older buildings. Daniela Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Mayor, said there will be a “deep dive” over the next 30 days to assess buildings that are close to 40 years old or older.
Speaking to CBS News, Levin Cava said the review, however, would not include buildings in cities, which have their own powers.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that an engineering consultant found troubling evidence of “significant structural damage” at the collapsed South Champlain Towers in 2018. On Sunday, Burkett said city authorities would look “very, very comprehensively” in 2018. An engineering report on the building, as well as Review other documents.
“Now we are doing a very deep dive into the documentation, in the connections that have been over the years with this particular building, and other buildings for that matter, but also specifically the sister building,” he said.
But he stressed that the rescue operation will be a top priority. “Buildings don’t fall in America,” Burkett said on ABC News. “Obviously there was something very, very wrong with this building, and we need to get to the bottom of it, but not today, not tomorrow and not for long, because our first and only priority is to draw our inhabitants out of this rubble.”
Levin Kava said she would be “supportive” for anyone living in the sister group who wanted to vacate, and said building inspectors were sent to do a “more detailed review of the structure of that building” after the initial inspection of the building found no reason to do so. interest.
Burkett said the city will provide resources for any residents who want to move.
Earlier in the week, US President Joe Biden ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts, and declared a state of emergency. A White House statement on Friday said the emergency measure empowers the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate “all disaster relief efforts.”