Miami building collapse: Remaining section of apartment block demolished over safety concerns

A Florida apartment building which partially collapsed last month has been demolished.

Champlain Towers South, in the city of Surfside, collapsed 11 days ago while many of its residents were asleep.

Some 24 bodies have been recovered but more than 120 people are still missing.

The search and rescue operation has been suspended, although Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that it would resume after the demolition.

The 12-storey building was demolished on Sunday evening, with footage showing it falling to the ground, throwing up plumes of smoke.

The building’s columns had been drilled into and small explosive charges were placed to bring the remains of the building down.

People living nearby were told to stay indoors and turn off air conditioning due to dust.

There had been concerns that the building, which partially collapsed on 24 June, could come down on its own, risking the safety of fire and rescue crews searching for victims.

There were also growing fears that Tropical Storm Elsa, which is currently off the coast of Cuba with winds of up to 60mph, could make the site dangerous.

Elsa is forecast to reach Florida on Tuesday or Wednesday.

North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur Sorey said the building’s owners had not yet begun a mandatory safety recertification process required 40 years after it was built.

“It’s definitely not an easy decision (to demolish the building),” he said.

“It’s just the right thing to do during these times. It’s uncertain what’s going to happen with the storm.”

Buildings near Champlain Towers South are being inspected over the coming few weeks to make sure they are safe and one – the 49-year-old Crestview Towers – has already been evacuated due to concrete and electrical problems.

It is not clear what caused Champlain Towers South to collapse but a 2018 engineers’ report showed that the collapsed building had suffered from various structural problems.

It said most of the damage “needs to be repaired in a timely fashion”.

The 84-page report was submitted to the town in April and it set out a 40-year repair and restoration plan for the apartment building.

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