SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - The death toll in Surfside continues to climb as crews rush to recover those still missing in the debris. Search teams continue to work 24/7 in hopes of providing some closure to the heartbroken families.
At a news conference Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced an additional 14 victims were recovered, including a 3-year-old boy, raising the total number of victims found to 78.
“This is a staggering and a heartbreaking number,” said Levine Cava.
Friday evening, the mayor confirmed crews recovered an additional victim, bringing the total to 79.
A total of 61 people remain unaccounted for, and 201 are accounted for.
“When a layer is removed, the dogs sweep, then the dogs can help them pinpoint exactly where to work,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “Then, they will start working in a more hands-on method there because the dogs are incredible at their job, but they work more hands-on, so you’ll definitely see more individuals working in one spot.”
Levine Cava said crews have removed more than 13 million pounds of concrete and other materials.
Officials said about 60 trucks filled with debris go in and out of the collapse site every day.
The work is grueling and can be dangerous. Two first responders have been injured since Thursday.
“One was cardiac in nature and was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky. “The other individual was one of the task force members who received a laceration. They required some sutures but are stable and doing all right as well.”
Patronis said his office can assist with insurance claims of those who survived the collapse as well as families of the victims.
“You don’t need to hire a public adjuster or attorneys. Give us a call, we will walk you through the claims process, we will reach out to your carriers,” he said, “or if you don’t know who your carrier is, we’re gonna help you figure that out.”
Songs of prayer were sung at Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach on Thursday. The service was held in support of the victims and families of the tragic collapse.
Late Thursday night, Miami-Dade Police revealed the identities of the most recent victims recovered.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said crews are finding mementos and other belongings and are doing their best to organize them.
“They are using GPS technology to place the items found near the families’ units so that we have a better idea to whom these items may belong,” he said.
While there is still a lot of rubble left behind, Burkett said crews have made significant headway.
“In certain areas, as low as Floor 2, and we’re still in certain areas at Floor 5,” he said.
For those who need help with insurance claims, call 1-877-MYFLCFO (6935236).
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