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Florida Rescue Workers End Search for Victims in Condo Collapse


Members of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's urban search and rescue team listen to officials lauding their efforts as they are welcomed back from a weeks-long deployment working on the rubble pile at the collapsed Champlain Towers South condos, on July 23, 20212

Rescue workers have officially ended their search for victims at the site of a collapsed Florida residential building.

The collapse in the early hours of June 24 in the Miami suburb of Surfside killed 97 people. One person remains missing.

At a ceremony Friday to conclude the operations, Fire Chief Alan Cominsky praised the firefighters who worked 12-hour shifts searching for survivors and victims in the past month.

"I couldn't be prouder of the men and women that represent Miami-Dade Fire Rescue," he said.

The site of the building collapse has mostly been cleared of rubble, and the debris has been transported to a Miami warehouse.

Angela Gonzalez, right, holds hands with her daughter Deven, as both sit in wheelchairs due to their injuries during the funeral for their late husband and father Edgar Gonzalez, 44, who was killed in the collapse, on July 23, 2021.
Angela Gonzalez, right, holds hands with her daughter Deven, as both sit in wheelchairs due to their injuries during the funeral for their late husband and father Edgar Gonzalez, 44, who was killed in the collapse, on July 23, 2021.

The only survivors found in the rubble had been discovered in the hours immediately following the collapse.

Rescue workers spent nearly two weeks searching for survivors and listening for noises in the rubble, all while battling Florida's heat, thunderstorms and a passing tropical storm. When no more survivors were found, the operation shifted to one of recovering bodies.

In the end, Cominsky said, rescue crews discovered no evidence that anyone who was found dead had survived the initial collapse.

The building collapse has prompted investigations into how the structure failed so completely and has led to new inspections of older buildings in the area.

No decision has been made about the future of the property where the building stood. Some former residents want the property to be sold, others want it to be rebuilt, and still others are lobbying for the site to be turned into a memorial to remember the dead.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.

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