The death toll comes from Part of a 12-story building collapsed The mayor announced on Saturday night that the number of fires near Miami in the United States had risen to five times this week, as “very deep” fires in the rubble hindered search and rescue efforts for most of the day.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levin Kava said at a press conference that emergency responders “found another body in the rubble,” and the ongoing search “found some human remains.”
She added that the number of people still missing has dropped slightly to 156.
On Thursday, at the scene of the collapse of a building in Surfside, a small town near Miami, emergency workers continued to search for possible survivors under the rubble mountain. Rescuers used infrared technology, water and foam to extinguish the fire, the source of which is not yet known.
Earlier Saturday, Kava told reporters that smoke posed the biggest challenge. She described the fire as “very deep” and said rescuers were facing “incredibly difficult” due to the fire.
“The stench is strong,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis added with the mayor.
DeSantis said that Federal Emergency Management Agency officials have joined the local and state authorities on the scene. He added that the “sister building” of a nearby collapsed tower is also under consideration because it was built at the same time and has the same design.
At noon, rescuers were clearing the rubble to control the dust, and pungent smoke erupted from the balcony on the second floor of the part of the building where it was still standing.
“The most important thing now is hope,” said Fire Chief Allen Kominsky. “This is our motivation. This is an extremely difficult situation.”
At the same time, a newly released 2018 report showed that an engineer found evidence of major structural damage under the pool deck and found “concrete aging” in the apartment’s underground parking lot.
Engineer Frank Morabito warned that the waterproof material installed under the pool deck had failed due to a major error in the design.
“Failed waterproofing is causing significant structural damage to the concrete structural panels below these areas,” he wrote. “If the waterproof material is not replaced in the near future, it will cause the deterioration of concrete to expand exponentially.”
It is not clear whether the damage described in the report is related to the collapse of the building at 1:30 am local time (0530 GMT) on Thursday. Officials said the building has more than 130 units, of which about 80 units have been occupied. About half seemed to have collapsed.
Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro reported in Surfside on Saturday that investigators will include the engineer’s report in their investigation of the collapse of the building.
Zhou-Castro said: “Out of caution, county officials here stated that they are immediately reviewing all other similar or older buildings in the county (this is a 40-year-old building).”
“But of course, for the families of the 159 possible souls who are still trapped under this rubble, this is a painful wait-not only because they are waiting for the answer to how this happened, but more importantly, waiting. The answer to the fate of their loved one.”
Rachel Spiegel’s mother, 66-year-old Judy Spiegel, lives on the sixth floor of the building. When speaking with her siblings on Saturday, she said that the family “is trying to bring them together.”
“I know my mother is a fighter,” Spiegel said. “I know she loves us. I know she doesn’t want to give up. So, you know, it’s the third day, so it’s hard.”
US President Joe Biden said on Saturday that he had a conversation with Governor DeSantis a day ago and told him that his government is “prepared to provide assistance based on the needs of state and local officials.”
Biden said: “My heart is with the Surfside community. They grieve for their lost loved ones and wait anxiously as the search and rescue work continues.” Tweet.