The remaining tower of the Champlain Towers condo building complex in Surfside, Florida is to be demolished within the next day or two, USA Today reported.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the move at a news conference on Saturday, saying the state will cover all cost of the demolition.
The decision was made in response to the increasing threat of a secondary collapse of the damaged structure, further endangering search and rescue crews at the site.
“This building is too unsafe to let people go back in,” DeSantis said. “This could protect our search and rescue teams. You’d hate to see there be another disaster out there if this building falls in the wrong way,” he said.
The death toll from the collapsed reached 24 victims on Saturday, with 124 people still missing.
The governor also declared a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to hit the area on Monday, adding strong winds and heavy rain to the already complex task of recovering victims from the site.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava likewise declared a local state of emergency the same day.
Levine Cara also said that she had signed an order the previous day (Friday) to proceed with the demolition, which is to be carried out Controlled Demolition, Inc., the firm that carried out the demolition of the remains of the World Trade Center in New York City.
Second Condo Building Evacuated
City officials have ordered the evacuation of a separate condominium tower, this one just five miles from the Surfside tragedy, located in North Miami Beach.
The 156-unit Crestview Towers was evacuated Friday in response to an audit of the building carried out in the aftermath of the Champlain Towers collapse in Surfside.
“In an abundance of caution, the city ordered the building closed immediately and the residents evacuated for their protection which a full structural assessment is conducted and next steps are determined,” North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III said.
“Nothing is more important than the safety and loves of our residents, and we will not rest until we ensure this building is 100 percent safe.”