One week after the Champlain Towers South building collapsed, search-and-rescue efforts at the condominium site in Surfside, Fla., were halted around 0200 ET Thursday amid concerns the remaining structure could topple, according to WaPo.
The pause is a massive blow for search-and-rescue teams - at least 18 residents are dead and 145 still missing. There were no new confirmed victims today.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters that authorities are doing "everything we can to ensure that the safety of our first responders is paramount and to continue our search-and-rescue operation as soon as it's safe to do so."
"The only reason for this pause is concerns about the standing structure," she said. "We've already informed the families this morning who are waiting and waiting about this development."
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said there are concerns about the stability of a large column hanging from the structure that could fall and cause damage to the support columns near the garage area of the building. He said any "slight movement" in concrete floor slabs and additional collapses would be triggered.
Cominsky did not provide a timeframe on when search and rescue operations would resume. "We'll evaluate, and my primary focus is to see how we can get back out there and continue our search-and-rescue efforts," he said.
President Biden arrived in Surfside to meet with local and state officials, where he said the federal government would provide financial assistance to the rescue and recovery efforts.
"I want to pick up 100% of the cost from the county and the state over the first 30 days," Biden said at a meeting with Levine Cava, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and other local officials. "I think I'm quite sure I can do that."
Meanwhile, a tropical storm is developing in the Atlantic Basin may present additional challenges for the rescue operations and spark concerns that wind and rain could further damage the standing structure.