Florida officials announced Friday that they plan to demolish the remaining structure of the Champlain Towers South condominium, following the partial collapse that killed at least 22 people and left more than 100 unaccounted for. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at an evening press conference that it will likely be weeks before the demolition begins.
Levine Cava said Friday night that she has signed an emergency order that will allow for the building to be demolished once engineers and other officials approve. She said the remaining structure “poses a threat to public health and safety,” and that crews will move quickly to demolish it once it is deemed safe to do so.
She cautioned that this would take time. “The demolition of the building is going to proceed based on the recommendations of the engineers…” she said. “That is going to take, most likely weeks. It is not possible, either from an engineering or any other perspective to move more rapidly than that.”
“We cannot move swiftly to demolish this building,” she added. “The building needs to be carefully evaluated.”
Levine Cava also announced that two additional bodies had been discovered in the rubble, bringing the death toll to 22. There are still 126 people unaccounted for, she said. Four additional identified Friday by the Miami-Dade Police Department: Bonnie Epstein, 56; Claudio Bonnefoy, 85; Maria Obias-Bonnefoy, 69; and a 7-year-old whose name is not available at their family’s request.were
She said she’s certain the building won’t be demolished before the arrival of, which may strike the area in the coming days. The mayor said that teams are “monitoring the storm very closely,” and that it is unclear if it will pause search and rescue efforts.
She and other officials continued to emphasize that their “top priority” is search and rescue. When asked if she would prioritize removing all victims from the rubble before demolishing the building, she said, “We’re very concerned to not compromise our search, but we also know the building itself poses certain risks. So we have to balance those things.”
Colonel Elad Edri told CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca that his team from Israel has searched the Surfside mound in 12-hour shifts and that they are tired but determined. Although they’ve worked through events like missile attacks and bombings before, Edri said that “this is by far the most complicated site I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The White House announced Friday that it will use federal funding to cover 100% of eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures for a 30-day period beginning June 24.