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Rescue workers in Surfside, Fla., recovered a body amongst the rubble of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South on Saturday, bringing the death toll to five.
Authorities also notified the families of three previously unidentified victims, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Saturday evening, changing the total to 156 missing and 130 accounted for.
Levine Cava told reporters that rescue efforts had made some headway. A deep-seated fire in the rubble that had been hindering rescuers had been mostly extinguished, allowing personnel to more effectively search through the debris.
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said rescuers were continuing an “aggressive search and rescue strategy.” He said responders were able to contain the fire and minimize smoke Saturday morning. They were continuing to search for people using sonar, canines and video equipment, he said.
Authorities are collecting DNA samples from family members of the missing people to help identify potential victims.
Meanwhile, residents of the building a block over, Champlain Towers North, are also anxious about the soundness of their building. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told reporters the North building was built at about the same time, by the same developer and, “probably built with the same plans, it was probably built with the same materials.”
Burkett said a Surfside building official inspected the Champlain Towers North and a “cursory review” did not find anything out of order. But it wasn’t a “deep dive.” He said that would likely take a couple weeks to complete and the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be able to assist residents with housing if they want to evacuate. But at the moment there is no mandatory evacuation order for the north building.
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