By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Some 150 people remained unaccounted for, and at least nine people were confirmed dead Saturday after a 12-story condominium tower collapsed near Miami in southeastern Florida.
Fire and smoke coming from deep inside the concrete and metal remain of the destroyed complex hampered rescue efforts on the outskirts of the U.S. coastal metropolis.
Despite the difficulties, emergency workers raced to recover any survivors beneath the mountain of rubble, witnesses said.
Rescuers used infrared technology, water, and foam to battle the blaze, whose source was unclear. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava stressed that the smoke had been the biggest challenge. The fire was “very deep,” and rescuers faced “incredible difficulties” because of the flames, she told reporters.
A fire hose blasted one of the lower floors on the north side of the tower as white smoke or steam streamed out, and a bitter, sulfur-like smell hung in the air.
“The stench is very thick,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said.
Part of the building collapsed on Thursday while many residents slept, according to several
reports. Rachel Spiegal, whose missing mother lived on the sixth floor of the building, told reporters she was “praying for a miracle.”
She said her 66-year-old mother, Judy Spiegel,
is a fighter. “I know she loves us. I know she doesn’t want to give up. So, you know, it’s day three, so it’s hard,” Spiegel said, speaking alongside her siblings.
U.S. President Joe Biden said he was following the developments closely. “We sent the best people from FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] down there,” he added.
“We’re going to stay with them with the disaster declaration we made, provide for everything from housing to God forbid whether there’s a need for a moratorium for the bodies to be placed, everything in between.”
The search for survivors continued amid mounting questions about the construction of the apartment block. An inspection in 2018 reportedly highlighted “a major error” in the original design of the complex.
The engineer’s report said the fault prevented water from draining from the base of the seafront Champlain Towers.
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