SURFSIDE, F.L. (CBS) – The cause of the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, remains unclear on Saturday, ten days after the building crumbled into a pile of rubble. Crews are worried about the safety of the site and now, the track of a storm, Tropical Storm Elsa.
The storm was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday after previously becoming a hurricane. It is expected to move near Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday and near Jamaica and eastern Cuba on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is then forecast to move across Cuba by Monday and toward the Florida Straits.
The potential path of the storm over Florida remains unclear. But poor weather conditions at the collapse site could complicate ongoing search efforts.
Work has to stop for 30 minutes if there’s a lightning strike within 2.5 miles of the site, according to officials.
Officials have said they will monitor the forecast closely.
“It is possible that this area could see tropical-storm force winds,” Governor Ron DeSantis said. He said the site would be treated with a “special emphasis” to protect equipment.
For now, the grueling work — the rescue mission — continues, Omar Villafranca reports for “CBS This Morning: Saturday.”
Colonel Elad Edri and his Israeli team have been working on the mound in 12-hour shifts
“How hard is it after so many days having to see this repeatedly?” Villafranca asked.
“First of all, It’s a very tough experience for the rescuers. And working, as you feel now, very hot and raining,” he said.
Twenty-two people are confirmed dead and 126 are unaccounted for. On Friday, four victims were identified, including the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter.
Florida officials have announced Friday they plan to demolish the remaining structure of the Champlain Towers South condominium, following the partial collapse. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a Friday evening press conference that it will likely be weeks before the demolition begins.
Meanwhile, fear of another collapse prompted the closure and evacuation of a 156-unit building in nearby North Miami Beach. An audit found the building was deemed electrically and structurally unsafe several months ago.