The latest on the partial building collapse near Miami

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0402 GMT (1202 HKT) July 2, 2021
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8:03 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Identity of 1 additional collapse victim released

From CNN's Rosa Flores and Hollie Silverman

The identity of one additional victim in the Champlain Towers South collapse was released by authorities Thursday night following a briefing.

Magaly Elena Delgado, 80, was recovered on June 30 and identified Thursday, a news release from Miami-Dade County said.

7:54 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

CNN obtains letter to property owners after 2 board members resigned in September 2019

From CNN’s David Shortell and Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman

A letter from the Champlain Towers South condominium board president sent to property owners in 2019 and obtained by CNN Thursday confirms that two members of the board resigned on the same day in September of that year.

The letter obtained by CNN did not give a reason for the resignations. However, one of the members had expressed concern about the structure of Champlain Towers South in January 2019 when construction workers were digging nearby the property.

According to the Washington Post, five of the board's seven members resigned that fall as part of an exodus tied to infighting over a multimillion-dollar repair project. 

Attempts by CNN to reach the two board members who resigned have been unsuccessful.

7:47 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Surfside mayor says Biden consoled 12-year-old daughter of man unaccounted for in collapse

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

President Biden consoled the 12-year-old daughter of a man who is unaccounted for in the Champlain Towers South collapse during his visit Thursday, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told reporters during a news conference Thursday night.

Burkett said he showed the picture of the girl praying near the collapse site to Biden and the President immediately said, "Bring her to me."

"The President embraced her, gave her words of comfort and was grandfatherly and wonderful to her and it actually made her day," Burkett said. "I was very happy to hear that your President also greeted first responders, gave them words of encouragement and thanks."

"Most importantly, he was with the families, and literally went around to every single table of every family that was in the room and spoke to each and every one of them," the mayor said, adding, "So for that, Mr. President, thank you for doing your job. Thank you for serving your citizens. Thank you for serving Dade County Surfside in the state of Florida. You've done what you promised to do and we all thank you."

 

7:46 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Condo collapse survivor: "I'm homeless for all intents and purposes at the moment"

Condo collapse survivor Steve Rosenthal is still coming to terms with the fact that his home is gone and so many of his neighbors are still unaccounted for.

"It's been crazy, the first three days were, I was upset, I was distraught and I was, you know, I didn't know what I was going to do. But it's gotten a little bit better. But I really haven't felt it yet," said Rosenthal who lived in the condo complex for 20 years.

He added: "I think I'll feel it when all this is gone, when all the reporters are gone, and then where do I go? What do I do? Where's my home? I'm homeless for all intents and purposes at the moment. Not intents and purposes, I'm homeless."

7:31 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Process to determine if site needs to be demolished could take weeks, FEMA structural engineer says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

The process to determine whether demolition of the collapsed condo building needs to occur could take weeks, Scott Nacheman, a structural engineer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Thursday

Nacheman, speaking at a news conference, said they are evaluating contingency plans at this point.

Once they have the technical data, they will give it to everyone involved to make the decision.

"[The] determination can be made with how we want to proceed safely to make the site operational for ongoing rescue operations," Nacheman said.

He said additional monitoring instrumentation is being used at the site and officials are putting them in more locations.

The monitoring "will continue indefinitely," he added.

7:27 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Florida receiving more than $20 million from FEMA to support ongoing collapse operations, official says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide $20.5 million in support for the state as the operations continue at the Champlain Towers South collapse site, said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Guthrie said they will also receive an additional $4 to $5 million to help cover the costs associated with the teams and logistical resources after President Biden pledged to cover the first 30 days 100%.

About the search efforts: Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said crews have resumed operations in three of the nine grids at the collapse site. Those grids are D3, D2, and G3, he said.

The short-term re-engagement plan was approved by the FEMA support team and task force leaders, according to Cominsky.

Operations will now continue "with safety mitigation measures in place," he said, after they were halted earlier Thursday.

7:24 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Emergency management monitoring Elsa amid collapse operations

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Charles Cirillo speaks at a news conference on Thursday, in Surfside, Florida.
Charles Cirillo speaks at a news conference on Thursday, in Surfside, Florida. WPLG

Miami-Dade Emergency Management is monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa as they continue to respond to the Champlain Towers South collapse, Charles Cirillo, the division director for the Office of Emergency Management, said during a briefing Thursday night.

Cirillo said the county faces the risk of heavy rainfall and strong winds from Elsa from Sunday night into Monday morning.

While they don't think the county is in immediate danger, they have developed emergency plans, he said. 

He encouraged businesses and residents to prepare for a storm.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the National Weather Service will be on site tomorrow to brief the search teams on Elsa.

7:23 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Officials are planning to demolish the remainder of the building, mayor says

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Heavy machinery sits in front of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, on Thursday, July 1, in Surfside, Florida.
Heavy machinery sits in front of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, on Thursday, July 1, in Surfside, Florida. Mark Humphrey/AP

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said officials are planning to carefully demolish the remainder of the partially collapsed building while the rescue operation continues. 

"We're proceeding with planning for the likely demolition of the building while the search and rescue continues, as our top priority," she said, speaking at a news conference this evening.

"This is a decision that we need to make extremely carefully and methodically as we consider all the possibly impacts to the pile of debris and to our search and rescue operation, as well as considerations of how to best manage the demolition in order to safe guard the integrity of the existing debris field," she continued.

Speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer a few minutes later, Florida Fire Marshal and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis confirmed that the remainder of the building would have to come down in order to "finish the mission," saying the "it's too much of a risk" to rescuers.

He described the details of how such a demolition might proceed, saying they would cover the existing rubble pile with tarps, and "drop the building" towards Collins Avenue, away from the ocean.

Watch here:

7:23 p.m. ET, July 1, 2021

Authorities have informed next of kin for 17 victims in the collapse

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Authorities have notified the next of kin for 17 of the 18 victims in the Champlain Towers South condo collapse, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during a news conference Thursday . 

Levine Cava said search and rescue operations resumed around 4:45 p.m. ET Thursday following recommendation of structural engineers after being halted due to safety concerns earlier in the day.

"Our firefighters looked really, really excited to get back there," she said, adding, "I am grateful to their hard work that got us back to work on the search and rescue." 

The mayor said they are continuing to restrict access to the collapse zone and engineers are conducting ongoing testing and evaluation of the site to expand the search into more areas as it becomes safe to do so.

Crews on the scene are using technology, camera and drones among other things to continue the efforts on the site, she said.