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New video shows moments just before and after condo collapse

By Jay Croft and Madeline Holcombe, CNN

[Breaking news update, published at 5:51 p.m. ET]

Two more bodies were recovered Friday from the rubble where sections of a Surfside condo collapsed last week, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference.

The death toll from the collapse is now 22, with 126 people unaccounted for, she said.

[Previous story, published at 12:49 p.m. ET]

Search and rescue teams found remains of two more victims of the collapsed Florida condo building, including the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter, bringing the total of confirmed dead to 20, officials said at a midday news conference Friday.

They’re also facing new challenges, with a hurricane looming and the rest of the building threatening to fall.

Rescuers have been combing through concrete up to 16 feet deep since part of the Champlain Towers South crashed down June 24 in Surfside. And still, 128 people remain unaccounted for, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

The state is working on a “dual track” with the collapse site and Hurricane Elsa potentially hitting South Florida in coming days, Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

“We could see tropical force winds as early as Sunday night in southern Florida,” DeSantis said Friday. “And so we’re actively monitoring the situation like we always would do with these storms. But given what we’re doing on this site, we’re also paying special attention to any impacts that could happen here in northeast Miami-Dade County.

“Our Department of Emergency Management is assuming that that will happen and making the necessary preparations to be able obviously to protect a lot of the equipment. You could potentially have an event out with the building, as well,” he said.

Meantime, the latest death of a child found in the rubble was confirmed by the Miami Department of Fire and Rescue.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the families affected by this horrific tragedy. We can confirm that a member of our City of Miami Fire Department family has lost his 7-year-old daughter in the collapse,” Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban said in a statement.

The girl was “recovered last night by members of our Urban Search and Rescue Team, Florida Task Force 2,” the statement says.

The girl’s father did not find her body; other team members alerted him, officials said.


Concerns about remaining building

Concerns about the integrity of what’s still standing could add another level of difficulty to the painstaking recovery efforts.

Work was halted for much of Thursday as engineers assessed the remaining structure.

It could be weeks before the rest of the building is demolished, officials estimated.

The demolition “might be sooner than we’re anticipating” because of the heavier equipment needed and potential complications to the weight that keeps the still-standing sections in place, State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said.

“To finish the mission, the building will have to go,” he said. “It’s just too much of a risk.”

Meanwhile, Hurricane Elsa has Surfside in its extended forecast cone. The county could face heavy rainfall and strong winds from Sunday night into Monday morning, said Charles Cirillo, division director for the Office of Emergency Management.

Documents show deterioration was found around pool

Repairs to the Champlain Towers South as part of a 40-year-recertification process had just begun when the collapse happened.

In 2018, structural engineering firm Morabito Consultants found that, among other things, failed waterproofing was causing “major structural damage” to a concrete slab beneath the pool deck. The report didn’t indicate the structure was at risk of collapse.

Condo owners in Champlain Towers South were facing assessments for $15 million worth of repairs — and payments were set to begin this week.

Indeed, contractors last October found such extensive concrete deterioration near the pool, they suspended a repair job, documents newly obtained by CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” reveal.

They feared the work might impact the stability of nearby buildings. And repairs were needed inside the pool, which was supposed to stay open while work was done, the documents show.

Morabito Consultants noted that full restoration and repair work on the pool corbel and wall repair work in the pool pump room could not be performed, stating in the letter that “areas of deteriorated concrete appeared to penetrate deep into wall/corbel construction” and that “aggressive excavation of concrete at the severely deteriorated pool corbel could affect the stability of the remaining adjacent concrete constructions.”

Loose concrete around the perimeter of the pool pump room that showed signs of cracking, spalling, deterioration and presented a “fall hazard” was removed by Concrete Protection & Restoration Inc. (CPR), according to the work summary.

Nothing indicates the concrete deterioration contributed to the collapse, but it highlights major repair work that was needed.

The full scope of the concrete work is unclear, as is the specific work contracted to Morabito Consultants and CPR and whether that work had been scheduled or was in the process of being completed.

The existence of this letter and details of the work performed were first reported by USA Today.

CNN has reached out to Morabito Consultants and CPR for comment on this development.

Lawsuit alleges lack of safety measures

A lawsuit against the Champlain Towers South condo association alleges Morabito Consultants did not do enough to keep occupants safe and failed to examine the building’s subsurface foundation.

The suit was filed by the family of Harold Rosenberg, who remains unaccounted for. It alleges that after the 2018 report, the condo association and Morabito Consultants should have submitted a written report to Surfside certifying that the condo was structurally safe.

The report was conducted by engineer Frank Morabito as part of the Champlain Towers South’s 40-year recertification effort.

The 2018 report “offered detailed findings and recommendations regarding extensive and necessary structural repairs for the condo building,” a Morabito Consultants spokesperson told CNN.

Other buildings to be evaluated

Teams going through the debris have still not yet found a single trigger for the collapse. And as investigators look into what caused the devastation, city officials are working to prevent damage elsewhere.

Surfside has requested that buildings at least three stories high or 30 years old begin to have structures examined before the 40-year building recertification program, a letter to property owners said Thursday.

Building managers will need to hire a registered structural engineer and should hire a registered geotechnical engineer “to perform an analysis of the foundation and subsurface soils.”

President Biden’s emotional visit

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met Thursday with the search and rescue personnel, first responders and some the families of the people still unaccounted for.

“Unfortunately, I’ve done a lot of these circumstances where I’ve met with families who’ve had great loss,” the President said after the three-hour meeting. “And what amazed me with this group of people was the resilience, the absolute commitment, their willingness to do whatever it took.”

He added: “I walked away impressed by their strength.”

But after the eighth day of searching, he also noted the devastating understanding in the families.

“The families here are very realistic — they know the longer it goes,” he said, his voice trailing.

Biden’s visit to survivors and families of those missing was “very uplifting,” said Steve Rosenthal, whose condo was one unit away from where the building collapsed.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Alta Spells, Theresa Waldrop, Steve Almasy, Hollie Silverman, Camille Furst, Rosa Flores, Curt Devine and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.

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