Massive fire hinders rescue efforts in collapsed Miami building.

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source: www.wsj.com

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed it. "We've got a huge fire, and we're trying to stop it from continuing the search," he said. One hundred fifty-nine people are still missing under the rubble.

Rescue teams continue to work this Saturday on the collapse of an apartment building in Surfside, Florida (USA), while a "large" fire inside the rubble is making it difficult to search for survivors, authorities said.

"We have found a very large fire, and we are trying to put it out to continue with the search; the fire is still alive," Said Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, at a press conference.

According to the counselor, the numbers of fatalities and missing persons have not changed so far: 4 and 159, respectively, although the focus today remains the same, the search for survivors.

The official also reported that no bodies were found in the last hours. "Unfortunately, no more victims were found. We continue with the search. We are ready to help with funds for the inspection of other buildings. Thanks for being with us. We are going to continue with the search," he said.

In Champlain Towers, part of the debris began to be removed with cranes and other heavy machinery. In other areas of the iron and concrete mountain, rescuers, assisted by dogs and sonar devices, are looking for signs of life.

In other areas, they were removed by hand. 

One by one, according to what can be seen in the television pictures, every piece of iron, cement, and furniture mess is left.

In South Florida, work is hampered by rain and wind.

Levine Cava, who insisted the "hope of finding people alive" remained and that the search would be for rescuers despite the "extreme danger," asked journalists to allow volunteers to do their homework. Why not give as some people requested family members.

The mayor responded that this is impossible for security reasons and stressed that the priority is "saving lives. Rescue workers worked night shifts and will continue to do so.

Both the governor and the mayor highlighted the strenuous work they are doing, to the point that, according to Levine Cava, they are so motivated that there are times When they must "pull" from falling material. Otherwise, they will continue to walk without rest.

Rescue workers have not heard voices, but they have heard voices that, according to the Miami Dade Fire Chief, may not be human-made but may be due to the movement of piled material.

Those places are being searched more carefully, said Ray Jadallah, the deputy fire chief.

Family members of Michelle Bachelet, among the disappeared

The local media also give an account of the names of some disappeared, among whom are Latin Americans who lived in the building or were staying temporarily in it.

Among them is Claudio Bonnefoy, 85, and his wife, Maricoy Obias-Bonnefoy, 69, who, according to Chilean media, are relatives of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, current High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights.

With 12 floors and 136 apartments and located on the beachfront, the building was inaugurated in 1981 and had just undergone a mandatory inspection for its 40 years. According to experts, it will take months and perhaps years to determine the collapse's causes.

However, DeSantis and Cava said there was a need for "accurate and timely" explanations of what happened because victims had a "right to know."

Both were grateful that US President Joe Biden has arranged for personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to join in the search for possible survivors and help in assisting relatives.

The governor and the mayor also thanked all the help received for those left homeless by the collapse of individuals and companies, such as the Lenar Homes corporation, which donated a million dollars.