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Surfside Condo Collapse: Miami-Dade Mayor Confirms Demolition Will Happen Between 10 P.M. & 3 A.M.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed the demolition of Champlain Towers South will happen between 10 p.m. Sunday and 3 a.m. Monday.

The planned detonation will be confined to the immediate area, and uses gravity to bring the structure down in its place.

She called the method of demolition "energetic felling," describing it as a process that "uses small, strategically placed explosives and relies on gravity to bring the building down in place."

Anyone living between 86th Street and 89th Street, Abbott Avenue and the shoreline have been told to shelter in place between 7 p.m. until two hours after the demolition, whenever it occurs, the mayor said.

A secure perimeter has been set up to prevent people from getting too close to the collapse site. The "Blast Zone" is considered the area of detonation – a 300-foot radius around the center of the demolition.

Surfside Building Demolition Blast Zone
Blast zone (Miami-Dade Government)

Levine Cava is urging residents to stay indoors during demolition due to dust and cover any openings such as windows, doors, and air intakes that allow dust into apartments, houses or buildings. Air conditioners should be set to re-circulate.

In addition, if you live in the "Shelter in Place" Zone, you are urged to stay indoors, especially if you suffer from respiratory conditions that would be aggravated by dust.

Levine Cava also addressed the concerns people had that pets were still in the building.

She said fire rescue crews have done three full sweeps, including unsafe areas. In addition to setting live traps, first responders also used cameras and drones with thermal imaging. After all those measures, they haven't found any pets.

WATCH: Sunday Evening's Press Conference In Its Entirety


Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said the plan for the demolition is to bring the building down in a westward direction with the hope it leaves the pile of debris from the collapse unaffected.

Appearing on Sunday's "Face the Nation" on CBS, Burkett underscored that authorities are still working with the mindset that this remains a rescue effort.

"It is absolutely not a recovery effort," Burkett said, later adding, "There is nobody in charge really talking about stopping this rescue effort. And this rescue effort, as far as I'm concerned, will go on until everybody is pulled out of that debris."

A senior official involved in the planning for the building demolition told CBS4's Jim DeFede that the demolition crews are working in areas that even firefighters wouldn't enter.

"These guys are crazy," the senior official said. "I would never go into some of the places these guys are going places."

On Saturday, state and local officials underscored the necessity to bring it down.

"We have a building here in Surfside that is tottering, it is structurally unsound," said Gov. Ron DeSantis. "If the building is taken down, this will protect our search and rescue teams."

Officials are hoping to demolish the remaining part of the condo building before any impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa are felt.

Levine Cava signed an emergency order for the county ahead of Elsa.

Search efforts have been paused since Saturday around 4 p.m. so engineers could secure the site and prepare for the demolition, which officials have said is crucial to allowing authorities to continue to look for survivors safely, eliminating the threat posed by the part of the structure that's still standing.

"As soon as the building is down and once the site is deemed secure, we will have our first responders back on the pile to immediately resume their work," Levine Cava said Sunday night.

The death toll is currently 24, with 121 unaccounted.

On Sunday, Miami-Dade police confirmed that the body of David Epstein, 58, was recovered on July 2.

Those who have been recovered from the rubble and identified are Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83 and Gladys Lozano, 79; Manuel LaFont, 54; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74; Frank Kleiman, 55; Michael David Altman, 50; Hilda Noriega, 92; Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21; Anna Ortiz, 46, her son Luis Bermudez, 26; Anaely Rodriguez, 42; Marcus Guara, their children 10-year old Lucia Guara and four-year-old Emma Guara; Magaly Delgado, 80; Bonnie Epstein, 56; Claudio Bonnefoy, 85; Maira Obias-Bonnefoy, 69; Graciela Cattarossi, 48; Gonzalo Torre, 81, and a 7-year-old whose family did not want to be identified.

After search operations at the site were halted for most of the day on Thursday due to safety concerns about the building that is still standing at the site, plans are being made to demolish it.

For 11 days straight, search-and-rescue teams have been climbing on the rubble, sifting through concrete and metal.

WATCH: Firefighters Remain Optimistic


Drilling through the layers of cement, tirelessly, searching for signs of life.

"Don't lose hope we will continue until we get to the bottom of that rubble," said Juan Mestas, Operations Chief for Miami Beach Fire Department.

"There is a very good chance that we could injure anyone who is still underneath. So, the work is tedious and very time-consuming. That why you see the buckets out there just taking one rock at a time."

Mestas has responded to disasters around the world, including the Twin Towers collapse on 9-11.

Neighbors 4 Neighbors has established a fund to assist families impacted by the collapse as well as help feed first responders. To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to

So far, they have raised more than $120,000.


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