Scott vowed to support the federal emergency response.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott met with emergency crews and officials at Surfside on Sunday after an oceanside condominium collapsed Thursday, leaving several dead and many more unaccounted for.
Scott’s visit comes as emergency workers, including members of the Israeli Defense Force, scramble to battle a blaze within the rubble and rescue possible survivors trapped inside.
“Met with the IDF search & rescue team that arrived from Israel today to assist with Surfside Building Collapse response,” Scott tweeted. “They’re already hard at work. Also met with Counsel General Elbaz Starinsky and Diaspora Affairs Minister Dr. Nachman Shai. Grateful for Israel’s strong support.”
FEMA Region 4 Administrator Gracia Szczęch briefed Scott early Sunday.
“As search and rescue continues, my office is actively supporting the federal response and assisting affected families,” Scott said.
Overnight, the death toll rose from five to nine, said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. Emergency crews discovered the bodies as they removed chunks of concrete from the pile where the 12-story structure once stood.
Meanwhile, more than 150 people remain unaccounted for.
Scott also met with staff, caseworkers and volunteers of the South Florida Red Cross.
Among other services, the Red Cross is providing on-scene mental health and spiritual care services. They’re also providing relocation services for evacuated residents.
“We are so grateful for their hard work & compassionate care supporting families affected by the Surfside Building Collapse with emergency lodging, mental health support, food, water & comfort items,” Scott said.
While the cause of the collapse remains unknown, a recently surfaced 2018 engineering report detailed “major structural damage” within the oceanfront condominium.
Among other findings, the report uncovered “abundant cracking and spalling” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.
Some of the damage was minor, while other columns had exposed and deteriorating rebar. It also noted that many of the building’s previous attempts to fix the columns and other damage with epoxy were marred by poor workmanship and were failing.
In all, an engineering firm estimated that major repairs the building needed would cost more than $9 million.
“We are drowning in resources,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told reporters Sunday. “We don’t have a resource problem, we have a luck problem. We need better weather, fewer fires.”
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