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Discussions Begin For Surfside Condo Memorial, Mayor Calls Collapsed Building ‘A Holy Site’
TOPSHOT-US-ACCIDENT-CONSTRUCTION TOPSHOT - A rescuer visits the 'Surfside Wall of Hope & Memorial' near the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida, on July 2, 2021. - Two more victims were found in the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in Florida, including the body of a seven-year-old girl, bringing the death toll from last week's tragedy to 20, with 128 people still unaccounted for, officials said on July 2, 2021. (Photo by Giorgio Viera / AFP) (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images) GIORGIO VIERA / Contributor via Getty Images
GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

The community of South Florida is beginning to weigh how best to honor the lives that were lost after a condominium building partially collapsed last month.  

“There’s a lot of emotion. People talk about it as a holy site,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez. “People want some sort of connection with their family member.”

According to NBC Miami, the mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, made a suggestion on Monday that it’s too early to specify any plans since many people are still in the grieving process, but he noted that the event obliges something to be put at the location to honor the people who died.

“I think the first thing we need to do is get the families situated, so they have a semblance of their life back — get them to the point where they aren’t burdened by the grief and emotion that they’re going through right now,” said Burkett. 

“It’s obvious that this has become much more than a collapsed building site,” Burkett said. “It has become a holy site.”

The people who own the building, and the board of directors, have not said anything about the topic of creating a memorial site for the people who lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind. The process might become more complicated, as well, since the condo was part of valued beachfront real estate. Family members of the victims and survivors have also reportedly begun to file lawsuits for civil damages. 

As of Tuesday morning, the death toll was raised to 95 people with 14 who have still not been accounted for. Out of the 95 people who died, 85 have been identified and families have been told.

As The Daily Wire reported last week, the search and rescue mission was changed to a search and recovery effort in order to recover the remains of any people who died in the tragedy. 

“According to The Associated Press, Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah informed families Wednesday afternoon that they would no longer use dogs and listening devices, both of which were deployed when rescue teams were looking for survivors. ‘Our sole responsibility at this point is to bring closure,’ said Jadallah,” The Daily Wire noted.

“At this point, we have truly exhausted every option available to us in the search and rescue mission,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a press conference last week. “So today is about beginning the transition to recovery so that we can help to bring closure to the families who have been suffering and waiting for news.”

“Before the Wednesday announcement, officials had been forced to pause the search and rescue efforts due to safety concerns, once because they feared the rubble was too unstable. More recently, crews were moved out of the way so that what remained of the 12-story building could be demolished, a move officials hoped would give them access to specific pockets of rubble where they’d find others. However, no one was found alive,” The Daily Wire added. 

Investigations into the collapse will take time, but several authorities have already called for them including an official from a nearby town who called for a deeper review of the work completed by Rosendo “Ross” Prieto, a former official in the city after he was connected to the partial collapse of the condominium building in Surfside. 

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