Miami Surfside collapse: firefighter's daughter found dead

Nearby buildings are undergoing emergency safety evaluations, while the expected death toll from Southside has fallen

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The grim aftermath of the apartment block collapse in Surfside, Miami, in Florida, took another tragic turn on Friday when rescuers found the body of a 7-year-old girl, whose father was one of the firefighters involved in rescue operations.

The firefighter was notified of the discovery, announced by Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Friday evening.

“These men and woman are paying an enormous human toll each and every day, and I ask that all of you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers,” Ms Levine Cava said.

Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban confirmed a firefighter lost his daughter in the collapse.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the families affected by this horrific tragedy,” Mr Zahralban said.

Twenty-two people have now been confirmed dead in the June 24 collapse of Champlain Towers South.

But the number of missing has dropped from 152 to 126, after some of the residents thought to have been in the building were found to have been away at the time.

But rescue workers are running out of time as Hurricane Elsa moves through the Caribbean and bears down on the US east coast.

Bad weather has already disrupted some of the rescue operations, which have involved some of the world’s most experienced search and rescue crews, including Mexico’s “Los Topas” – or “Moles".

Search and rescue teams have been digging carefully through up to five metres of rubble.

Ms Levine Cava said that to ensure the safety of rescue workers the part of the Surfside apartment complex that remained standing would be pulled down as the weather deteriorated.

But the demolition it could be weeks away, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, residents who live near by have been moved from the area. They loaded clothes and valuables into suitcases, laundry baskets and wagons and wheeled them to waiting cars.

Similar evacuations are expected as more buildings in the area conduct emergency safety inspections.

An audit prompted by the collapse of Champlain Towers South found that the 156-unit Crestview Towers in North Miami Beach, about 8 kilometres away, was deemed structurally and electrically unsafe in January, the city said.

Harold Dauphin was on his way home from picking up his son at a camp on Friday when he noticed a helicopter buzzing around his apartment and a heightened police presence.

Within hours, he was told to leave his apartment with his son, and the two gathered their possessions as quickly as possible.

“It’s unfortunate, but I understand. Knowing what happened in Surfside, you know, it’s understandable,” Mr Dauphin said.

Updated: July 03, 2021, 2:50 PM