Surfside, FL

Surfside Condo Disaster - Three Weeks Later

J. Harris

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Search and rescue dogs after searching the debris field for victimsMiamiHerald.com

Over the past three weeks, crews have removed 13 million pounds of concrete and debris from the disaster site, with 60 trucks a day hauling away heaps of rubble.

The overnight recovery raises the death toll to 78 people confirmed dead from the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo on June 24, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press briefing Friday. At least 47 of the recovered bodies have been identified and their families notified.

As excavators turned over heaps of broken cement and twisted steel, smaller backhoes combed through the pile — no longer in search of survivors, but victims, 14 more of whom were found in the rubble overnight, emergency managers said.

Additional reinforcements have arrived for first responders working at the site. Miami-Dade’s medical examiner was relieved by counterparts from the Broward County office filling in on the scene in Surfside on Friday. And emergency managers have added more state and federal mental health counselors and other resources for first responders working on the site, Levine Cava said.

There is no telling how long this will go on or how the families will be satisfied that their family members are no longer alive. Some are still thinking that they could still be alive. How? There is so much tonnage of debris. Over the past three weeks, crews have removed 13 million pounds of concrete and debris from the disaster site, with 60 trucks a day hauling away heaps of rubble.

Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said Friday that two people were injured over the past 24 hours, including one whom Cominsky described as having suffered “a cardiac issue” but who was now in stable condition. The second injury was to a first responder who suffered a laceration.

Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy,” Ramirez said, “We’re going to be doing it until we’re done. I can’t really predict a time,” Ramirez said. “What I can tell you is that our fire-rescue officers are working 24 hours a day to bring closure to the families and then to go into that investigative phase” with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as the state attorney. “Our number one priority is to recover the victims.”

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I usually write about a lot of subject matter from my own personal life to animal behavior. Everything in between. I have been writing for over two years but have always been a writer and avid reader. I lived in Atlanta, GA for sixty years then moved to South Florida and it was a huge change for me. I write truth as I see it in hopes it will help others.

Plantation, FL
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