Surfside condo collapse: Firefighters end search efforts; 97 victims identified

SURFSIDE, Fla. — After weeks of sifting through rubble in search of victims and survivors of the June 24 partial collapse of Champlain Towers South, firefighters have ended their recovery mission, The Associated Press reported Friday.

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Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah confirmed the agency’s decision to the AP, though officials noted that police and forensic specialists will continue to work on identifying human remains in the disaster.

Officials said Wednesday that 97 victims have been identified since the partial building collapse, including 96 who were recovered from the collapse and one who died at a hospital. Authorities had accounted for 242 people reported missing in the wake of the incident, although they said they had reason to believe that one victim had yet to be identified.

The 12-story Champlain Towers South partially collapsed in the pre-dawn hours of June 24, as many of the building’s residents were sleeping. The cause of the collapse, which affected 55 of the building’s 136 units, remains under investigation.

On Wednesday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said teams had cleared most of the debris from the sites of the partial collapse and reiterated that officials were working to bring closure to the families affected.

“In collapses like this one it is unfortunately very difficult to recover all the remains,” she said. “Some of the factors that impeded search work against us, like fire and water. The enormous pressure of the weight of the collapse and the passage of time also make it more challenging.”

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