Surfside death toll rises to 54

Crews work at Surfside building collapse site
Crews work at Surfside building collapse site
Photo courtesy Gainesville Fire Rescue

Search and rescue crews found 18 bodies Wednesday to bring the Surfside building collapse death toll to 54. 

Thursday marks two weeks since part of the 12-story Champlain Towers South building fell in the middle of the night, and almost 90 people are still missing. Lightning storms and strong winds from Tropical Storm Elsa also delayed rescue operations Tuesday, but crews have been able to access more areas of the site after a planned demolition of the standing portion of the structure on Sunday night.

Crews have already removed 124 tons of debris but have seen no signs of life, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue chief Alan Cominsky said Tuesday.

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What happens next? Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the condo association, an architect, and a building inspector, claiming their negligence led to the building’s collapse.

On Friday, a judge appointed a special representative called a receiver to manage the condo association’s financial matters. The judge told the receiver to pay $10,000 in insurance money to each resident who needs housing assistance and $2,000 for funeral costs.

—With reporting from J.C. Derrick

This story has been updated and originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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