The remainder of the partially collapsed Miami-area condo has been demolished on Sunday night, July 4, 2021, ahead of the possible arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa.
The decision to demolish the Champlain Towers South building where 24 people are confirmed dead, came after concerns mounted that the damaged structure was at risk of falling on its own. An approaching storm also added urgency to the concerns to demolish the building to allow rescue crews to safely operate in some areas.
According to AP news, several explosions were set off late Sunday night by the demolition crews to bring down the damaged remaining part of the collapsed condo building, a key step to resuming the search for victims as rescuers possibly gain access to new areas of the rubble.
Immediately the explosives set off, the building started to fall, sending up massive plumes of dust into the air in the surrounding neighborhoods. The remaining portion of the building came down around 10:30 p.m.
Residents in nearby buildings did not have to evacuate their houses as there was no need for that. There were however instructed to stay indoors and turn off air conditioning due to dust from the rumbles.
Through the night, rescuers were awaiting the “all-clear” after the demolition so they could dive back into the task of trying to locate any survivors buried under the rubble. Officials had previously said that the search could resume from 15 minutes to an hour after the detonation.
“We are standing by. We are ready to go in, no matter the time of night,” Levine Cava told a news conference earlier Sunday night.
“I truly believe … that the family members recognize and appreciate that we are proceeding in the best possible fashion to allow us to do the search that we need to do,” Levine Cava said.
No one has been rescued alive since the first hours after the June 24 collapse.
As of Sunday afternoon, Tropical Storm Elsa was off the coast of Cuba with winds of 60 miles per hour (95 kph). After moving across Cuba later on Sunday and Monday, the storm was forecast to approach western Florida on Tuesday or Wednesday.