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Death total in collapsed Surfside building increases to 9; 4 people identified

Building Collapse Miami
Posted at 8:03 PM, Jun 26, 2021

Crews continued their search and rescue efforts Sunday, hoping to find more survivors in the wreckage of a collapsed beachside condominium building.

Sunday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says crews recovered four additional bodies, as well as human remains, bringing the death toll to 9. The fifth deceased person was recovered Saturday.

"Now this trench is very critical to the continuation of the search and rescue process. We've continued all night to build that trench and as a result of that, we were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble, as well as additional human remains. As of today, one victim passed away in the hospital and we've recovered eight more victims onsite. So, I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine," said the mayor.

More than 150 people remain unaccounted for following the collapse.

Levine Cava said a fire burning in the rubble, hampering rescue efforts, was contained Saturday at noon.

She noted rescue crews have been working around the clock since the collapse early Thursday morning. Rescue workers continued to go over the massive mountain of debris with rescue dogs and sonar searching for any survivors.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said all evidence being removed from the site will be held at a warehouse site.

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived at the site following President Biden’s approval Friday morning for federal emergency aid.

“We are here to assist with any resources that might be needed as this response continues and we move into recovery efforts,” said Deanne Criswell, administrator of FEMA. “We do have urban search and rescue teams that are available to come in and assist as the need is determined."

Authorities released the names of four of the deceased via a Twitter post Saturday night. The four residents were identified as Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; Manuel LaFont, 54.

According to Scripps station WPTV in Palm Beach, Florida, Fang was the mother of a 15-year-old boy pulled from the rubble on Thursday morning, just hours after the building collapsed.

Authorities also announced Saturday they are beginning an audit of buildings nearing their 40-year review — like the fallen Champlain Towers South — to make sure they’re safe.

Nearly three years before an oceanfront building collapsed near Miami, an engineering firm estimated the building needed more than $9 million in major repairs. That is according to emails from the firm of Morabito Consultants that were released by the city of Surfside.

The release of the 2018 cost estimate followed the earlier publication of another document from the firm showing the ground-floor pool deck of the building was resting on a concrete slab that had “major structural damage” and needed to be extensively repaired.

That report also uncovered “abundant cracking and spalling” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.

Watch Sunday morning's update below: