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6 Things to Know: Condo Tragedy Becomes Personal for Miami-Dade Rescue Crews

It’s Wednesday, June 30th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day

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It’s Wednesday, June 30th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.

No. 1 - The slow work of sifting through the remnants of a collapsed South Florida condo building stretched into a seventh day Wednesday, as families desperate for progress endured a wrenching wait for answers.

Elected officials pledged to conduct multiple investigations into the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South in Surfside. Another victim was recovered Tuesday, bringing the confirmed death toll to 12, with 149 people unaccounted for. The work has been deliberate and treacherous. Thunderstorms rolled through the area Tuesday morning, and debris fell onto the search area overnight from the shattered edge of the part of the building that still stands, forcing rescuers to mark a "don't go beyond here" line and focus their efforts parts of the debris pile that are farther from the structure, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said.

No. 2 - Elected officials are vowing to convene a grand jury and to look closely “at every possible angle” to prevent any other building from experiencing such a catastrophic failure.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said she and her staff will meet with engineering, construction and geology experts, among others, to review building safety issues and develop recommendations "to ensure a tragedy like this will never, ever happen again.” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said she will pursue a grand jury investigation to examine factors and decisions that led to Thursday’s collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South in Surfside.

No. 3 - The search and rescue efforts continued Tuesday at the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside and while the odds of survival diminish with each passing day, it brings to light the question: how long can a person survive in the rubble?

As crews worked to clear the rubble, stories of rare miracles from past disasters are bringing hope to some families and officials, including Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett. Burkett spoke Tuesday about an extraordinary case of survival following a building collapse in Bangladesh. In another incident from 2016, four people, including a pregnant woman, were rescued after being trapped for six days in a collapsed apartment building in Kenya. To hear why some officials see these examples as reasons for hope in Surfside, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Amanda Plasencia.

No. 4 - Search and rescue teams from Miami-Dade are considered among the best and most experienced in the world, dispatched to epic disaster scenes far beyond their Florida base — from the rubble of the World Trade Center to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, Mexico and the Philippines.

This time disaster struck at home. The rescuers are searching urgently for the scores of souls buried beneath the fallen 12-story wing of the Champlain Towers condo building. “It’s personal,” said Miami-Dade County’s former fire chief, Dave Downey, a 37-year veteran of the department who retired two years ago but joined in the search. “I’d much rather be giving help than asking for help, but right now it’s in our own backyard,” he said from a command trailer near the pile of broken concrete and twisted metal. 

No. 5 - On Wednesday, June 23rd, Erick De Moura was visiting his girlfriend, Fernanda Figueiredo, when he was caught in the rain. De Moura wanted to go home.

But, a rare midweek chance to spend some time alone spurred Fernanda to make a request. Erick agreed to spend the night - and at 5 a.m. the next morning, he woke up to the news of a collapse at his condo building, Champlain Tower South in Surfside. Erick lived on the 10th floor of the northside of the building. He knows of no other survivors from his side of the complex. To hear why he’s grateful to his girlfriend, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Julia Bagg.

No. 6 - Just a few blocks away from the site of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse, you'll find the Surfside Community Center. 

It's become a refuge, and food hub, for those in need. Jay Beck tells NBC 6 News he's among about 15 professional chefs working around the clock at the community center to make sure impacted souls are fed. Beck, a trained professional chef and owner of Kosher Private Chef Concierge, says he’s been volunteering at the community center since the collapse of Champlain Towers South.  Beck tells us he met Eran ‘Ronnie’ Hazan of the Yedidim organization, and Joe Zevuloni, shortly after the tragedy. He says they immediately began coordinating how best to feed those in need. To see how chefs and local synagogues are helping out, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Ryan Nelson.

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