A fire is complicating the search for more than 150 people
who are believed to be trapped beneath the rubble of a collapsed condominium in South Florida
During a Saturday morning news conference
, Miami-Dade Mayor
Daniella Levine Cava stated that rescuers are still having “incredible difficulties” finding survivors as a result of the fire.
Rescue crews have been working around the clock since Thursday, when the 12-story Champlain Towers South
collapsed, killing at least four people and leaving 159 people unaccounted for two days later. The rescue effort has been hampered by a rubble fire, which is producing large amounts of smoke, and fire crews have yet to find the source of the fire.
“It’s a very deep fire,” Cava explained, “and it’s extremely difficult to locate the source of the fire, so they’ve been working around the clock, these fire rescue teams, these brave men and women
, under the rubble to fix this problem so they can get on, but it’s hampered our search efforts.”
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett previously stated that firefighters
were battling a fire that was thought to be burning inside the collapsed building's underground parking garage.
“Cars were probably crushed, and fluids were leaking out, and it ignited, causing this nasty fire,” Burkett explained.
According to a 2018 structural field survey report on the building, “abundant cracking and spalling of varying degrees... observed in the concrete columns, beams, and walls” of the parking garage, and “many of the previous garage concrete repairs” were “failing.”
The cause of the building's collapse is still unknown.
Cava stated that rescue teams are digging trenches to aid in the fight against the fire and that infrared technology is being used to pinpoint its origin.
“We are using infrared technology, foam, and water
to contain the fire and minimize smoke spread,” she said.