1 additional body recovered at Surfside building collapse site

Other human remains also located Saturday
Aerial view of collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, June 25, 2021
Posted at 9:11 AM, Jun 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-26 23:16:12-04

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Search-and-rescue efforts at the site of the Surfside condominium collapse were being hindered by a smoldering fire within the rubble Saturday morning. But by that afternoon, rescuers did make progress in battling the fire, which made it easier to continue their search for victims.

Workers dug a trench using heavy equipment through the rubble to attempt to isolate the fire and continue searching for survivors.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Saturday afternoon that one additional body had been found in the rubble of the collapsed condominium, as well as other human remains.

A total of 130 people have been accounted for, 156 are still missing and five people have been confirmed dead after a portion of the Champlain Towers South condo collapsed early Thursday.

Grief counselors, rabbis and other religious leaders are available around the clock to family members of the victims.

Levine Cava said they are gathering DNA samples from family members to assist in the identification of remains that have been recovered.

"The process of identifying these victims is very difficult," the mayor said.

Miami-Dade police identified four of the victims Saturday night. Among the victims was Stacie Fang, whose son was rescued from the rubble shortly after the collapse.

Levine Cava said she is directing the county's Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources to immediately begin an audit of every building in the county that is at least 40 years old to check for any safety issues.

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke about the concerns over a similar building nearby that was built by the same company at the same time as the Surfside condominium.

"There's a sister building basically right down the street I know they are looking at because it was built at the same time with the same designer," DeSantis said. "So they are looking at working with them, and I know they are considering potentially evacuating them. I don't know that there's any problem with that building, but just given the similarities, given the same age, they think that may be something."

A 2018 engineering report revealed that the Champlain Towers South condo showed "major structural damage" but did not warn of any imminent danger.