Home News Grand jury expected to review Florida building collapse, officials say

Grand jury expected to review Florida building collapse, officials say

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A Florida grand jury is expected to be empaneled to review last week’s collapse of a beachfront high-rise condominium, officials said Tuesday.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press briefing that she had spoken to state Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, who assured her that she will ask for a grand jury panel to review the deadly incident.

“I was speaking to the state attorney this morning about it. We were talking about whenever it is moving forward that we will be fully on board,” Cava said. “She has announced that she will be asking the grand jury to look at this matter.”

Asked what the grand jury would be seeking, the mayor said, “like all of us, answers.”

“I will do and my team will do anything possible to aid them,” she said.

Rescue workers continue to dig through the rubble from Champlain Towers South in Surfside following the deadly collapse early Thursday morning — with hope of finding survivors quickly diminishing.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said her office will work with the state attorney general on the probe.
Larry Marano for NY Post

About 150 people are still unaccounted as crews from as far away as Israel and Mexico continue to dig alongside local teams. The death toll remains at 11, Cava said at the briefing, adding that all the families of the dead victims have been notified.

She said there are currently 210 workers on the pile, which she said is “sufficient” to continue sifting through the rubble.

The teams are digging in 12-hour shifts on a rotating basis around the clock, using dogs, sonar, cameras and heavy equipment in their search.

Relatives of the missing, many of them from South America, have been housed in a local hotel while anxiously awaiting news.

“This has turned upside down the worlds of a lot of really great people,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at the briefing. “Not only in this state but beyond.”

“It’s been very heartbreaking and very touching because there’s a lot of folks who are experiencing some unbelievable pain,” he said.

The confirmed dead were identified by authorities as: 

  • Stacey Dawn Fang, 54, a New Jersey native.
  • Manuel LaFont, 54, native of Houston.
  • Luis Andres Bermudez, 26, and his mother, Anna Ortiz, 46, and her husband, Frankie Kleiman, 55.
  • Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, and his wife, Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, who were visiting from Venezuela.
  • Antonio Lozano, 83, and his wife, Gladys Lozano, 79.
  • Michael David Altman, 50, whose body was recovered Monday.
  • Marcus Joseph Guara, 52, who moved to the building less than a year ago.

The 12-story tower, built in 1981, fell to the ground around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Concerns over the building’s safety dates to 2018, when an engineering report found “major structural damage” on a pool deck above a parking garage.

In April this year, a letter from the president of the condo association warned tenants that “observable damage such as in the garage” had gotten “significantly worse.”

The association had begun a $15 million facelift of the building when it collapsed.

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