The damaged remaining structure at the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida, was demolished Sunday. Approximately 55 of the building’s 136 units collapsed early June 24, killing at least 24 people with other 121 people who remain unaccounted for. No one has been found alive since the first hours after the disaster. Search efforts at the partially collapsed building were paused Saturday around 4 p.m. so engineers could secure the site and prepare for the demolition, which officials said was crucial to allowing authorities to continue to look for survivors safely. “As soon as the building is down and once the site is deemed secure, we will have our first responders back on the pile to immediately resume their work,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told media. She called the method of demolition “energetic felling,” describing it as a process that “uses small, strategically placed explosives and relies on gravity to bring the building down in place.”
Nearby residents were asked to stay indoors as a precautionary measure. Crews were to begin clearing some of the new debris so rescuers could start making their way into parts of the underground garage. Up to 210 rescuers will be poised to restart the search. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 15 counties Saturday — including Miami-Dade County — because of Tropical Storm Elsa. Elsa was a Category 1 hurricane Friday and early Saturday, but weakened to a tropical storm as it took aim at the Dominican Republic and Haiti.