Here’s What We Know About The Surfside Collapse: Recovery Efforts Approach End Nearly A Month Late

Jul 16, 2021
Originally published on July 19, 2021 12:02 pm

As recovery efforts continue in Surfside after the partial collapse of a 12-story condominium building on June 24, officials have confirmed that at least 97 people are dead.

Dozens were rescued from the rubble of what was Champlain Towers South, more than 238 people have been accounted for and 11 are still potentially unaccounted for.

More than two weeks after the collapse, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the search-and-rescue mission shifted to recovery at midnight, July 8. The remains of the 136-unit building were demolished on the evening of July 4.

Nearly a month after the tragic events, search-and-recovery efforts continue and are beginning to reach their conclusion.

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Here’s what we know about the situation. This post will be updated.

Who are the victims that have been identified?

Miami-Dade police have identified the following deceased victims of the collapse:

Stacie Fang, 54

Antonio Lozano, 83

Gladys Lozano, 79

Manuel LaFont, 54

Leon Oliwkowicz, 80

Luis Bermudez, 26

Anna Ortiz, 46

Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74

Marcus Joseph Guara, 52

Frank Kleiman, 55

Michael David Altman, 50

Hilda Noriega, 92

Lucia Guara, 10

Emma Guara, 4

Anaely Rodriguez, 42

Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21

Magaly Elena Delgado, 80

Bonnie Epstein, 56

Claudio Bonnefoy, 85

Maria Obias-Bonnefoy, 69

Graciela Cattarossi, 48

Gonzalo Torre, 81

David Epstein, 58

Ingrid Ainsworth, 66

Tzvi Ainsworth, 68

Nancy Kress Levin, 76

Jay Kleiman, 52

Francis Fernandez, 67

Graciela Cattarossi, 86

Gino Cattarossi, 89

Simon Segal, 80

Elaine Lia Sabino, 71

Gary Cohen, 58

Juan Alberto Mora Jr., 32

Andrea Cattarossi, 56

Ruslan Manashirov, 36

Harold Rosenberg, 52

Gloria Machado, 71

Benny Weisz, 31

Angela Velasquez, 60

Ilan Naibryf, 21

Leidy Vanessa Luna Villalba, 23

Nicole Langesfeld, 26

Miguel Pazos, 55

Richard Rovirosa, 60

Oresme Gil Guerra, 60

Ana Mora, 70

Elena Chavez, 87

Elena Blasser, 64

Marina Restrepo Azen, 76

Maria Gabriela Camou Font, 64

Julio Cesar Velasquez, 66

Lorenzo De Oliveira Leone, 5

Alfredo Leone, 48

Maria Torre, 76

Richard Agustine, 77

Luis Sadovnic, 28

Edgar Gonzalez, 42

Alexia Maria Pettengill Lopez Moreira, 9

Anna Sophia Pettengill Lopez Moreira, 6

Lisa Rosenberg, 27

Arnold Notkin, 87

Judith Spiegel, 65

Margarita Vasquez Bello, 68

Cassie Billedeau Stratton, 40

Fabian Nunez, 57

Catalina Gomez Ramirez, 45

Nicole Dawn Doran, 43

Beatriz Rodriguez Guerra, 52

Andres Levine, 26

Moises Rodan Brief, 28

Aishani Gia Patel, 1

Mercedes Fuentes Urgelles, 61

Raymond Urgelles, 61

Luis F. Barth Tobar, 51

Maria Notkin, 81

Valeria Barth, 14

Michelle Anna Pazos, 23

Mihai Radulescu, 82

Rosa Saez, 70

Miguel Leonardo Kaufman, 65

Maria Popa, 79

Brad Cohen, 51

Theresa Velasquez, 36

Where do things stand in the search-and-recovery efforts?

The remaining part of the building was demolished on the night of Sunday, July 4.

That order came after work was briefly halted at the site on Thursday, July 1, due to concerns about the remaining structure falling over.

Later that Thursday evening, search-and-recovery work restarted at the site.

Another factor in the ongoing search efforts was the potential threat of Tropical Storm Elsa. Officials prepared to adjust as needed depending on the severity of the storm and its course.

What do we know about the cause of the collapse? Was work happening at the building?

The week of July 5, the Florida Bar announced the creation of a task force to help state leaders consider condominium-related issues after the deadly collapse of a building in Surfside.

“The task force will serve as a resource to the governor and Legislature as they review all aspects of Florida condominium law, development, association operations and maintenance to determine and recommend if legislative and or regulatory changes should be enacted to minimize the likelihood of a similar tragedy,” said a news release from the The Florida Bar Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section.

The Condominium Law and Policy on Life Safety Task Force will be chaired by William Sklar, an attorney with the Carlton Fields firm who also teaches at the University of Miami School of Law. State and federal officials have raised the possibility of pursuing legislation to address construction or engineering issues after the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building.

On Friday, June 25, the town of Surfside released a nine-page structural engineering report from 2018 that detailed major problems with the building.

The report specifically pointed out issues with the pool deck drainage. "The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas," it said.

NPR obtained minutes from a meeting in November 2018 with residents from the condo at which a Surfside building official told them the building was "in very good shape."

On Saturday afternoon the firm that completed the structural engineering report, Morabito Consultants, issued a statement in which they say they they are "deeply troubled" by the collapse and stated:

"At the time of the building collapse, roof repairs were underway, but concrete restoration had not yet begun. Our firm exclusively provides engineering consulting services. We do not provide construction-related services, such as building repair and restoration contracting. We are deeply troubled by this building collapse and are working closely with the investigating authorities to understand why the structure failed. As we do so, we also continue to pray for all those impacted by this tragic event."

The state senator who represents Surfside told WLRN's Danny Rivero he would like to see a new scoring system for structures. State Sen. Jason Pizzo said the system would be based on when and how they were built, and the geology and geography of the area.

WLRN spoke with the National Institute of Standards and Technology about their early work to investigate the causes of the collapse. The same agency was given the authority to investigate building collapses after the attacks of 9/11 and six researchers are gathering information in Surfside.

Our staff also spoke with John Pistorino the engineer who created Miami-Dade County's 40-year recertification program in 1974. The Champlain Towers South building was already in the midst of that recertification process before Thursday's collapse. You can find that story here.

The cities of Miami Beach and Miami have, respectively, ordered reviews of all 40-year-old buildings and 40-year-old buildings that are six stories or higher. And Miami-Dade County ordered a similar review for parts of unincorporated Miami-Dade and for county-owned buildings.

READ MORE: 'I Felt The Entire Room Shake.' Partial Building Collapse In Surfside Leaves One Dead, Many Injured

How can I support the victims?

We've created this post with a roundup of organizations and individuals offering support to victims. We'll continue to update it with additional information.

What’s is traffic like near the scene?

Traffic is still shut down in the area near the collapse on northbound Collins Avenue between 83rd and 90th Streets. Harding Avenue has reopened to north and southbound traffic.

North Beach Oceanside Park remains closed to the public to aid the recovery efforts.

The Miami Beach trolley system is also not serving stops north of 85th Street.

When did the collapse happen?

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the call at about 1:30 a.m. at the Champlain Towers building, at 8777 Collins Ave., and began search and rescue efforts in tandem with other law enforcement and emergency response agencies.

— The News Service of Florida contributed to this report

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