Demolition of Surfside building being expedited 'as soon as possible', DeSantis says

President Biden visits Surfside, Florida after condo collapse

Fox News correspondent Phil Keating has the latest on Biden’s meetings with victims’ families and first responders on ‘Special Report’

Demolition of the Surfside, Florida, condominium that collapsed on June 24 is being expedited “as soon as possible,” officials announced at a Saturday press conference.

The demolition plans come as Florida braces for Tropical Storm Elsa, the eye of which is not expected to pass over the Miami-Dade area but could still impact the partially collapsed Champlain Towers, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during the conference.

“…We have a building here in Surfside that is tottering — that is structurally unsound — and although the eye of the storm is not likely to pass over this direction, you could feel gusts in this area. We don’t know,” DeSantis said, adding that both Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett “have supported demolishing the building.” 

Once demolition begins, the process could be completed within 36 hours, the governor said.

Florida Department of Transportation engineers will “examine the remaining structure and propose different paths forward for demolition,” DeSantis continued. Officials initially expected demolition to take weeks.

As of Saturday morning, authorities have discovered 24 deceased, and 124 individuals remain unaccounted for.

Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 27, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)

Demolishing the building will help keep rescue workers safe “because we don’t know when it could fall over,” and wind from the tropical storm could make the threat of another unexpected collapse in any direction more likely.

“Our mission is to expedite [demolition] as soon as possible,” DeSantis said. The building could come down completely within 36 hours.

The governor said officials “hope” the demolition will impact the search and rescue mission for those unaccounted for “very minimally.”

Cava said officials said during the conference that a demolition contract has already been signed, and officials will move forward whenever they have a plan in place.

Cava and Burkett met last week to discuss demolition when it became clear that the building was “an obvious problem,” and the “only solution for that problem was to eliminate it,” Burkett said. 

Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told families on Saturday that the building will come down as early as “first thing tomorrow,” according to NBC Miami.

 Search and rescue efforts will continue after demolition. A tarp will be placed over the old debris to separate it from debris from the newly collapsed part of the building, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said during the conference.

The state of Florida will pay for all demolition costs. 

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