With storm looming, demolition planned for collapsed Florida condo

SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The search and rescue mission at the collapsed Florida condominium has been suspended as a crew prepares for the demolition of the remainder of the building, a fire official said Saturday.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told family members that rescuers stopped their search at about 4 p.m., when demolition crews began boring holes into the concrete of the still-standing portion of Champlain Towers South in Surfside.

The suspension prompted concern from one family member who called it “devastating” that work had to stop.

Jadallah said the work stoppage was a necessary safety measure because the drilling could cause the structure to collapse. If it does, he said, “It’s just going to collapse without warning.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — Demolition workers will bring down the remainder of a partially collapsed condo building in South Florida ahead of an approaching storm that has heightened concerns that the structure could crumble dangerously on its own, officials said Saturday.

With Tropical Storm Elsa looming in the Caribbean and forecast to move toward the state in the coming days, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the building in Surfside is “tottering” and “structurally unsound” and demolishing it is the prudent thing to do.

“If the building is taken down, this will protect our search and rescue teams, because we don’t know when it could fall over,” DeSantis said at a news conference. “And, of course, with these gusts, potentially that would create a really severe hazard.”

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