The damage is believed to have resulted from years of exposure to salty sea air along the coast of South Florida.
Architect Frank Morabitwa at the time urged the building’s management to make urgent repairs. The apartment building collapsed at night from Wednesday to Thursday, just prior to previously advised repairs to be made. Since then, four bodies have been found among the rubble. 159 people are still missing.
Investigators have not yet been able to determine the cause of the collapse, in part because there is no full access to the crash site, as rescue teams are still searching for survivors. Experts predict that the investigation into the cause of the collapse could take months. The rescue operation is still in full swing two days after the disaster.
Hundreds of lifeguards should be very careful, according to the Washington Post. Putting out fires or even moving debris can lead to new transformations in the remains of an apartment building. This can end badly for the people who may still be trapped. Rescuers managed to save 35 people who were relatively easy to reach. The research is now focused on finding people deeper under concrete and metal.
A former fire chief told The Post that rescuers were removing large chunks of concrete with “surgical precision.” They hope to find open spaces amid the ruins with the living victims. Specialized detection dogs are used for this. Small cameras can also be used to see through the rubble and there is equipment that can detect a human heartbeat.
The quest is not only a race against time, but also a battle against circumstances. Rescuers first stood in the scorching sun on Friday and then had to deal with torrential rain. As a result, measures were needed to prevent flooding of parts of the disaster site. On Saturday, rescue efforts were again hampered by the raging fires, which produced so much smoke that it was difficult for firefighters to locate the blaze.
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