Jun 28, 2021
Surfside, FL Condo Collapse Press Conference Transcript June 28
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Surfside officials held a press conference on June 28, 2021 to address updates on the condo collapse. Read the transcript of the news briefing speech here.
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Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: (03:35)
Thank you so much. I’m Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I represent Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, which includes Surfside. This morning I’ve had an opportunity not only to participate in Mayor Levine Cava’s briefing, inter-governmental briefing, but to sit down and talk with our national experts from NIST, which is the similar agency that reviews and comes into decide whether a full investigation will be necessary for structural damage, building collapses. They were investigators in 9/11. They were investigators in a number of structural incidents around the country and are the best of the best when it comes to making sure that they do a complete and thorough overview. They’re in a preliminary investigation right now to determine whether or not they open a full investigation. I mean, I’m not an expert, but I would expect that it is natural that they would decide to do that. Their role is to very forensically review as the process of going through the rubble, even during the search and rescue process, to help make sure that evidence is preserved, which they’re working with the task force on debris to do that, to make sure that even with the Army Corps of Engineers that is embedded in their team to take a look at some of the issues that have arisen anecdotally, but the issues like the questions around the structural damage to the pool, that area that has been mentioned and other different points of weakness. They will look through that preliminary investigation and determine whether they open a full investigation. That is triggered when they get a sense of, after their preliminary review, of whether or not any decisions and fact-finding that they engage in as a result of that investigation can have longer-term implications and recommendations for how we change federal oversight, federal law, related to building construction and the kind of code enforcement decisions that will have to be made on the ground.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: (05:45)
It’s really important and very significant that they’re here as early as they been because getting them here, embedded with the debris task force, making sure that they advise on how evidence should be preserved once law enforcement takes over, will give them a better chance of answering the question that I know I’ve been asked over and over, we all have been, “Okay, how are we going to deal with the long-term implications of this? Did this only impact just this building?” We have, as we’ve said, structures like this all the way up the coastline, all the way up the coastline of the United States and what NIST will be able to help do, is they’re a fact-finding not a fault-finding agency and a long-term investigation of there is would give us a chance, for me, as a member of Congress, to be able to input, to adopt changes in federal law that will help them make sure that when the structures are built, that something like this could never happen again.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: (06:40)
I’ll continue to be engaged with our very seamless local, state and national leaders so that we can make sure that we have, continue the whole-of-government approach where there’s no daylight between any of us. Thank you so much, and thank you, Mayor Levine Cava, for all your work.
Speaker 6: (06:56)
Thank you, Congresswoman. Governor Ron DeSantis.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: (07:02)
Well, I had a chance to meet with a number of the urban search and rescue teams today, and as I have seen them, of course, over the last many days, but they’ve been going at it for over 100 hours straight. When there’s danger, they run towards it. They obviously shepherded a lot of people to safety initially, and they have been every minute of every day since the building collapsed, trying to identify survivors. They’re putting themselves at risk in order to do that. Not only because some, you could have additional collapse, you’ve had deep-seated fires that they’ve had to fight. It’s been an incredibly hazardous environment and they’ve been on the scene non-stop from the very beginning.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: (07:43)
I just want to thank them for what they’ve done. We obviously have some other folks throughout the state that have been able to also come and supplement, but those teams here in south Florida, they’re the best of the best. We had the Israelis come in and take a look and the Israelis told some of the families what those Miami-Dade search and rescue folks did is exactly what we would have done exactly what should have been done. I think it’s a testament. Our best in the country here in south Florida, some of the best in the world, obviously Israel coming over, they deserve a lot of credit for putting themselves out there. Obviously the search continues and it will not stop until there’s a resolution. Thank you for that.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: (08:26)
We’re also working in conjunction with FEMA, as well as in conjunction with both local government and private organizations to bring relief services to the family members, and that involves relocation assistance. It involves things like mental health counseling. We have folks. We’ve beefed that up here on the ground. What we want to do is, working with FEMA, identify all the families, get them registered face-to-face, which FEMA is doing and is doing a good of and be able to provide these services. I have the head of Volunteer Florida is on the ground to help coordinate with all the great volunteer organizations. The outpouring with the charitable donations has been incredible, millions of dollars, and I think there’s going to be millions of more. It’s a testament to this community here in Surfside, as well as the greater Miami-Dade area and as well as Florida and the United States, because people from all across the country have been involved in that.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: (09:22)
Those recovery efforts from the family, of helping them get back on their feet, helping them cope with trauma, that’s going to be ongoing. This is something that’s going to require community involvement, local government, state government, and FEMA for awhile, and we’re in that for the long haul.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: (09:39)
The final thing is, of course, rescue, number one; care for the people that have been displaced, number two; but we do obviously need to identify why this happened. I was able to meet with the NIST folks today, and they were created after 9/11. They’ve done a handful of really thorough investigations since their creation: 9/11. They did Joplin, Missouri from the tornadoes. They’re doing hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. They did a Rhode Island nightclub fire that happened almost 20 years ago. They’ve never done just a straight building collapse that wasn’t involved with either hazards or terrorism, and so this is going to be something that’s important. It is something that’s going to be very thorough. It is something that is not going to happen in a day or two. This is going to take a long time. That’s the time horizon they work on, and I understand that.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: (10:32)
What I’ve told Mayor Burkett and Surfside, as well as Mayor Cava, because Surfside has retained people to look in, and then obviously Miami-Dade with the state attorney, they’re doing an investigation. I think those investigations may be able to provide us with some information, maybe a little sooner than an NIST. I think that’s important because if there are things that need to be done at the state level, we obviously would want to get information as soon as possible. We’ve pledged at the state, if they need support, from engineers, from experts, whatever we need, whether it’s Surfside, Miami-Dade, we’re here to help. I think the people of Florida want to understand how could this happen and then what could we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Gov. Ron DeSantis: (11:15)
We’ll be working on that for the long-term, but in the interim, thank you for everybody who’s going through that rubble. Thank you for being on the front lines for us. Your work is very, very important and it’s been very, very selfless.
Speaker 6: (11:31)
Thank you, Governor. Now Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez.
Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nunez: (11:36)
Thank you. Good morning. I’ll reiterate what the governor said in Spanish. [Spanish 00:11:39]
Jeanette Núñez: (14:02)
Speaker 8: (14:27)
Thank you lieutenant governor. Now Miami Dade county mayor, Daniella Levine Cava.
Daniella Levine Cava: (14:42)
Here we are on day five, and the search and rescue work continued throughout the night, 24/7, the tireless work of our first responders. These are truly the men and women who have dedicated their lives to saving lives and this is what they live for; to save lives. So, they’re out there with every resource that they need to ensure that they can search this area, they can sweep the mound with cameras, with dogs, with SONAR and additional heavy machinery that has come in to start to clear away the debris. We are exploring all possible avenues that they identify, and we’re going to continue and work ceaselessly to exhaust every possible option in our search. I repeat; the search and rescue operation continues.
Daniella Levine Cava: (15:40)
As the governor and the congresswoman said, and the lieutenant governor, there is going to be a thorough and full investigation of what led to this tragic event. We are going to get to the bottom of what happened here. Right now, our top priority is search and rescue and find the people. And you can see, we have a truly unprecedented mobilization effort underway, with the full resources of our local state and federal government on hand already, for days already, and people coming in from around the state and around the world to assist us, right here in Surfside.
Daniella Levine Cava: (16:23)
I am so grateful to all of the leaders and all of the teams, and especially those who are up on the mound and putting their own lives at risk to find others. This morning we did recover another body. That brings the count to 10. The total number of those accounted for is now 135, and the total unaccounted, 151. Our detectives are working in real time right now to audit this list. We are receiving multiple calls still from family members about the same loved ones and the information is coming from various sources. I want to stress, as we have from the beginning, these numbers are very fluid and they will continue to change. I want to provide you, as we have done and will do, the best updates as soon as we have them, remembering that we’ve told the families that are waiting that they will be the first to here, and they were the first to hear about this 10th victim that we uncovered today.
Daniella Levine Cava: (17:40)
So, we will continue to support all of the families and loved ones who are affected with their mental health, their social service, their physical needs. They have professionals on site, a full gamut in the family assistance center. The Miami Foundation, one of those that launched the donation site is also onsite to assist these families with the cash assistance they need to get on with their lives as well. And we know that, as was said, millions have been collected across these different donation sites. It’s really quite incredible. So, please continue to pray for the families, continue to pray for the search and rescue team, the best in the world. We have hundreds on backup, we have the people we need. We are continuing without stop. Thank you, and God bless.
Daniella Levine Cava: (18:42)
Speaker 8: (18:42)
Thank you, madam Mayor. And now Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshall, Jimmy Patronis.
Jimmy Patronis: (22:17)
Thank you. Good afternoon. Governor, thank you for leadership through all this. You don’t get a break. Hurricanes, pandemics, you name it, this governor’s been boots on the ground and he’s been leading from day one. Mayor, your staff, amazing. The folks of Miami Dade county, the resilience that they’ve provided. This is an international issue, as we’ve seen support come from the federal international community. I’m the state’s Chief Financial Officer, I’m also the state Fire Marshall, I’m also a citizen of the state of Florida. Proud to be here with the urban search and rescue men and women of task forces that are assigned here.
Jimmy Patronis: (22:49)
This is the largest ever deployment of task force resources in the history of the state of Florida that’s not a hurricane. The same number of men and women that are on the ground right now is the same as that was deployed to hurricane Michael, which was a 12 county storm event. They’re working round the clock, they’re working 12 hours at a time. Midnight to noon, noon to midnight. They come from Tallahassee, they come from Orlando, they come from Tampa. They come from Israel, they come from Mexico. They come from Jackson, or they come from Fort Meyers. They come and they leave their families to come and work around the clock. Their reward is the lives they save. They are making the efforts as we speak right now, and they don’t stop. They hardly rest. They come off for about 45 minutes, they check their pulse, they check their O2 levels, then they go back to work. Because that’s what they do; they work to save lives.
Jimmy Patronis: (23:38)
I’ve got the honor to be here with them, and so proud of the efforts that are taking place here. I can’t say enough for the leadership of Kevin Guthrie and Florida department of emergency management, for FEMA. They have provided, as they know, the magnitude of this event. This came from a camp, and now we’ve created a city inside of a city, several blocks. And we appreciate all of the patience that the communities have had here in the region, as we do the most amazing efforts in the history of the state of Florida to save the lives at risk because of this terrible tragedy. Governor, thank you for your leadership, mayor.
Speaker 8: (24:15)
Thank you chief. And now for the Florida division of emergency management, Kevin Guthrie.
Kevin Guthrie: (24:23)
Good morning everyone, Kevin Guthrie, Florida division of emergency management director. Yesterday at about 4: 15, yesterday afternoon, Mayor Cava, Chief Cominsky asked for the assistance of a federal incident support team, specifically related to urban search and rescue. FEMA was in the room at the exact same time. The informal communication of that request happened within minutes, so that request was set up and mobilized, and we have followed up with the necessary paperwork.
Kevin Guthrie: (24:53)
So, again, I think it’s important for everyone to understand that as soon as Mayor Cava, Chief Cominsky, Director Ramirez need resource, we were sitting together, we were working together underneath the leadership of the governor, the lieutenant governor, Mayor Cava and others to make sure that that happens instantly. And again, as congresswoman said, there is no daylight in between either one of us. So, I think that’s important for everyone to know. I will say that we’re also mobilizing today a Florida DHSMV bus to help people get ID cards for those that have been displaced. They need ID cards and driver’s licenses and things of that nature. That bus will be deployed today, should be here on site tomorrow. Thank you.
Speaker 8: (25:38)
Thank you, director. And now the Surfside mayor, Charles Burkett.
Charles Burkett: (25:44)
I just have a handful of things I want to share with you. First was this morning I was at the site and I observed hundreds of search and rescue people actively using their hands, digging out and doing what they’re here to do. I also observed the heavy equipment that the governor and the federal government have sent down to us in action, lifting off huge slabs and moving them away from the pile. Secondly, I visited with the families again this morning, as did everybody probably standing here, and we heard from the Israeli team that was here, and one of things that I wanted to note was that the Israeli commander told us that the teams that are out there working are working fabulously together. There is a joint effort, there is a comradery, and everybody has the same goal, and that’s to pull people out of there. He also added that the intensity and the numbers will continue to increase, which I was very interested to hear.
Charles Burkett: (26:58)
Thirdly, I want to make everybody aware that there has been some discussion about why this happened, and that is, as Mayor Cava said and the governor said, that’s an issue for another day because right now we have two issues. Number one is to pull our family and friends out of that rubble and reunite them. Number two is to support the families. But to the end … We expect to get information. We directed our staff to go ahead and scan every shred of documentation that the town of Surfside has, which includes going to our archive storage sites. We’ve got boxes, and we’re sending those boxes to a printing scanning company, and those documents will be available for your review. I know you’ve seen some documents already, and I haven’t had the chance to watch the news because we’re in the midst of this disaster, all of us. I don’t know that anybody else has the chance to watch the news either, but I learn of stuff-
Speaker 9: (28:02)
… watched the news either, but I learn of stuff from you guys and I’m able to follow up on it, but most recent are a couple of disturbing comments that I saw regarding board minutes at the Champlain South Towers, with respect to some of our officials in town. But be that as it may, we will get to the bottom of it. The last comment I want to make is late last night I had toured, and this is on the personal side, I had toured the site as I normally do, usually I’m there three times a day in the morning and the afternoon and the evening, and I came across a little girl and she’s about 11 or 12 years old. And I had seen this little girl before, and I know because she was with her mom and we had talked, and she may have been with her dad, I’m not quite sure, but one of her parents was in that building at the time of the collapse and the other parent lives a couple buildings away. And she told me, she goes back and forth.
Speaker 9: (29:05)
When I came across to her, she was sitting in a chair by herself with nobody around her, looking at her phone. And I knelt down and I asked her, I said, “So what are you doing? Are you okay?” And she said, “Yes.” And she said something, and what she was telling me, it was a Jewish prayer, but she was reading a Jewish prayer to herself, sitting at the site by where one of her parents presumably is. And that really brought it home to me, that, and she was just… She wasn’t crying, she was just lost. She didn’t know what to do, what to say, who to talk to, and I was looking for her this morning at that family meeting and I didn’t see her, but I am going to find her and I’m going to tell her they were all here for her and we’re going to do the best we can to bring out that parent. So, anyway, it’s horrific. This is disturbing, but that is just a tiny, tiny example of the impact that this collapse has had on our community. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (30:20)
Thank you, Mayor. Now Miami-Dade Commission Chairman, Jose Pepe Diaz.
Jose Pepe Diaz: (30:29)
Mayor, that story is the story of so many that are in this situation right now. The families we’ve met with, the mayor and I this morning, the pain in their face, their expressions, it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. It is very difficult to know that your loved one could still be alive and have the hope to believe that, and at the same time, just sit there and wait for that information to get to you. That’s got to be one of the most difficult things that anybody could endure, and these people are doing it now, as the governor said, a hundred Hours since this took place. But the hope is there, because the very best team in the world started early because they are part of this community [inaudible 00:31:30]. And many have come, as the CFO stated, to come and help, many more still could come as needed.
Jose Pepe Diaz: (31:37)
So this community is blessed. These people are blessed that we have the kind of people that know what they’re doing, they’re the very best at what they do and they’re doing it nonstop, rain, whatever comes in the way they don’t stop and they’ll continue. So it is about them, that is who this is about. And we pray for them, we’re constantly having hope and we’re begging God for that hope for them. And that ladies and gentlemen is what my colleagues and I have been doing here, making sure that whatever is needed on our behalf is done so. Our mission is not here right now, it’s just helping, but it will come later when we have to deal with the problems of how this happened and how we can make sure that this never happens again, and that is where we’re at at this point. [foreign language 00:32:45].
Speaker 10: (34:57)
Thank you, Chairman. And now Miami- Dade Fire Chief, Alan Cominsky.
Fire Chief Alan Cominsky: (35:06)
Good afternoon. We actively continue our search and rescue operations, we have all Florida task force teams onsite still operating throughout our 12 hour operational periods. A very, very challenging and very difficult situation, but we keep going, looking, searching for any opportunity. I have my [inaudible 00:35:26] of operations to come up just to speak a little more detail on what we’re [inaudible 00:35:30].
Assitant Fire Chief Jadallah : (35:35)
Thank you, Chief. All right, so just a recap from yesterday versus today and what we’re looking for later on today. So as the operations continue, we have personnel utilizing bucket brigades, including the heavy machinery, they’re [inaudible 00:35:51] moving some of the debris. This afternoon we’ll be switching positions as a result that most of the individuals have come up upon larger concrete areas that now require heavy machinery. During that process of the delayering, we did find the 10th victim as the honorable mayor had mentioned. That the person was processed and removed from the pile and operations continued.
Assitant Fire Chief Jadallah : (36:16)
Again, the operations continue in the search and rescue mode. There’s a misunderstanding in regarding that everyone believes that the search and rescue operations should cease after a specific time, and that’s far from the truth. In the end, there’s numerous variables and facts, it’s not based on opinions, it’s not based on time. It’s not based on a specific area you just happen to see on TV that went down, it’s based on variables and facts. In conjunction with that, we have to consider all options, then, and only then, we take all of that information and we make a collective decision, but it’s not going to be from an office, it’s not going to be from a television, it’s not going to be from an individual that’s down the street, it’s going to be made collectively with the incident commander and from there on forth. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (37:11)
Thank you Assistant Chief. Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue [foreign language 00:37:15], Erika Benitez.
Erika Benitez: (37:35)
[foreign language 00:37:35].
Speaker 10: (37:35)
Thank you, Erika. And we’re going to open up for questions again, please raise your hand and you’ll be selected. Go ahead, right here.
Speaker 11: (38:16)
I have two questions. First, it’s a question for fire. What do you say to people who are watching this at home and saying that the search and rescue is going too slow? And then my second question is for Mayor Levine Cava, in the debriefs that you’re having with families, what are the conversations like and what are you telling them to potentially prepare for?
Assitant Fire Chief Jadallah : (38:38)
Okay, so the first question regards the belief that the operations are going too slow. This discussion came up during the family assistance center, it’s one of the questions that was brought up by the family. And this was addressed by us, and again, seconded by the Israeli team that was there. Folks, what we’re dealing with is a situation that includes complexity. And I know that we utilized the words before, however, the situation at hand is that we’re not lifting floor by floor. We’re talking about pulverized concrete, we’re talking about steel. Every time there’s an action, there’s a reaction, as yesterday is a perfect example.
Assitant Fire Chief Jadallah : (39:17)
Now we have family members at the site to basically see exactly what we’ve done. This is unconventional, especially so early in the stages. However, as the individuals continue to work feverishly, with urgency, they witnessed a rescuer tumble 25 feet down the mound, that is a perfect example of the situation that we’re dealing with. This was again, it was witnessed by the family members themselves at the site. So again, it’s not an issue of, we could just attach a couple of cords to a concrete boulder and lift it and call it a day. We’re digging through again, rumbles of concrete the size of basketballs, the size of baseballs, and then, and only then, in combination with the safety of the personnel and of course, considering the victims themselves, it’s going to take time. It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a 12 story building, it’s going to take some time.
Mayor Levine Cava: (40:22)
To follow up with the part of the question having to do with what is discussed at the family briefings, that’s what’s discussed. Assistant Chief Jadallah has gone through in extreme detail the map of the mound, it’s marked out, the grids explains exactly what’s being done in each part of the grid. After all of the technical questions are answered, we talk about DNA. We talk about how the DNA match is going to be made. We talk about communicating with family members, who will be the next of kin? How will they be contacted? Who will be next to learn about it? How will it be opened up for public knowledge? And we talk about their questions about, is enough being done? And they have seen firsthand what is being done, and they see that everything has been done that can be done and that they recognize the full danger that these first responders are exposing themselves to, and what it has taken for them to get to this point.
Speaker 11: (41:31)
So our families being told to prepare for the worst here?
Mayor Levine Cava: (41:35)
Families, because of the process we’ve gone through are coming to their own conclusions. Some are feeling more hopeful, some less hopeful, because we do not have definitive answers, we give them the facts. We take them to the site. We show them the operation. We show them where the pancake is. We show them where the tunnel is. We show them where the dogs are running up and identifying something that is then going to be…
Mayor Levine Cava: (42:03)
And identifying something that is then going to be explored. They have seen the operation. They understand now how it works. And they are preparing themselves for news, one way or the other.
Speaker 17: (42:13)
We have a question here for you.
Speaker 13: (42:17)
Unidentified victims, is this an issue of DNA or communicating with their families?
Mayor Levine Cava: (42:25)
So we tell you the difference. We tell you when a person is identified and we tell you when we can identify it to you, which is after the next of kin have been notified.
Speaker 13: (42:36)
Right. But on the two that have been, is it one or the other?
Mayor Levine Cava: (42:42)
I’m going to defer to [crosstalk 00:42:43].
Speaker 15: (42:42)
Repeat the question for the …
Mayor Levine Cava: (42:48)
Okay. This is for … The police will have an answer. They’re handling the homicide investigation so they can answer.
Speaker 14: (42:54)
In terms of the two unidentified, what was your question in terms of …
Speaker 13: (42:59)
The question was on the unidentified victims, is it an issue of DNA, which you don’t have, or is it an issue that you haven’t been able to communicate with their families?
Speaker 14: (43:08)
There’s multiple variables when you’re dealing with this. It depends on the condition of the family member that’s recovered. We have crime scene and medical examiner personnel on scene with our firefighters when a family member is recovered. If it’s possible, we do a rapid DNA test, and then immediately goes to a lab and we expedite that component. Once we have a positive match, we, in a very sensitive and personal matter, we make contact with the next of kin. If there’s a component where we cannot get rapid DNA, the medical examiner will collect the family member. And that process will happen at the medical examiner’s office. Once that family member is identified, then that process will happen. We’ll notify next of kin same way. That’s how we do it and we do it all with respect and integrity. It’s very emotional. This whole process has been emotional. And that’s why I call it family member, because what we’ve gone through here, I think we’re all family now. [crosstalk 00:44:14]
Speaker 18: (44:14)
[crosstalk 00:44:14] identifying any of the remains? Just to follow up on that question, have any of you done anything on identifying?
Speaker 19: (44:16)
Can you please talk about some of the facts and variables you’re gathering, maybe providing-
Speaker 14: (44:22)
One moment. Let me just answer. What was that Ma’am?
Speaker 18: (44:25)
Have any of the remains been identified?
Speaker 14: (44:28)
Once we make … that’s why you see, when we say we have lost 10 and there’s 9 identified, that’s because that process is going on. When it comes to the part that it is a family member that we’re not able to identify at that moment, the medical examiner will assist in that with that process and that’ll come along. And obviously that will affect the numbers as we move more along. That’s why all these numbers that we’re giving are right now, subject to change. We’re dealing with a very terrible situation here. That’s why we have to be very … Always keep mindful of our family members that are listening and watching right now. Sir. I’m sorry.
Speaker 19: (45:08)
Yes. I’ll read it.
Speaker 14: (45:09)
Okay. So the fire chief? All right?
Speaker 19: (45:18)
If you could just please talk about some of the facts and variables you’re gathering, and maybe providing me some hope.
Assitant Fire Chief Jadallah : (45:18)
All right. So in regards to some of the facts and variables that the operations and every operational period that we hit upon, as we continue to delay, or just, as we mentioned to the families, at the family assistance center, we have what we utilize is called sonar. It’s listening devices. In addition to that, some of the facts that we have, or some of the variables are the sizes of the void spaces. There are certain areas that we have not gotten to, but we’ve been able to place cameras that seem to have large enough spaces, voids, that occupants may still be in there. Again, it’s in regards to the actual spaces, not to say that we’ve seen anybody down there, but we haven’t gotten to the very bottom.
Assitant Fire Chief Jadallah : (46:03)
In regards to the sounds, so that there’s no misunderstanding, it’s not sounds of people talking or yelling out. As I’ve mentioned to the families, it could be a tap. It could be a scratch. It may be nothing more than some of the metal that’s contorting, but at the end, as I’ve said before, all variables, all facts have to be made before we make the decision to move to the next phase. And I can tell you that it’s not based on one little section because it was completely destroyed. I have to look at the entire pile as 100% … Confirm in regards to that we need to go to the next phase. And again, I got to re mention the fact that we’re just not there yet. We’re just not there yet.
Speaker 12: (46:46)
Boca Raton News. Now that we have some semblance of a DNA database for victims, what’s the timeline from recovering someone, to identifying them, to notifying the family. What timeline are you looking at from the discovery to what [inaudible 00:47:03]?
Speaker 14: (47:03)
This is what’s so amazing, the work that’s being done not only by our fire personnel, but our homicide detective, our crime-scene personnel, and our medical examiner, our rabbis who are there also on the scene that are helping us. When we are able to collect … It’s called rapid DNA. When we have a family member, where they’re eligible to go through the rapid DNA process, the moment that sample is taken, that detective, that analyst will run directly to the family unification center, where it’s entered into a system so we can have the match with the standards that we took from family members.
Speaker 14: (47:37)
Then there’s a second protocol at the lab. It’s verified, because we cannot have a partial. It has to be 100%, because we cannot revictimize our family members and give them wrong information. Typically, what we’ve been seeing has been within a day, when we’re able to get the rapid DNA component. When the DNA has to be done from the medical examiner, they do it as fast as they can. And then that notification is made. But that’s pretty much how the process is, Ma’am, and we do it as fast as we can and as accurate and correctly as we can. [crosstalk 00:48:28]
Speaker 20: (48:28)
[foreign language: Spanish 00:48:28].
Mayor Levine Cava: (48:36)
[foreign language: Spanish 00:48:36].
Speaker 20: (49:50)
[foreign language: Spanish 00:49:50].
Mayor Levine Cava: (50:09)
[foreign language: Spanish 00:50:09].
Speaker 17: (50:09)
Final question. Right here, sir.
Speaker 21: (50:15)
Could you please answer to Floridians, not just those here, but to those around Florida who ask in the face of published reports suggesting that at least potential big signals about problems with this complex, Surfside County reports to private reports that have been published, that suggested there were issues. How could people have confidence in the process going forward, given what initially appears may have been the signal’s about problems with this building leading up to the collapse.
Mayor Levine Cava: (50:48)
Let me say, from the county’s perspective, the buildings that are under our jurisdiction are being reviewed. We have onsite we’re going through every building that has been reviewed to make sure that every problem that’s been identified is pursued. I feel confident that it has been. We have a very, very rigorous building department and we stand ready to assist our cities, just like is happening in Surfside, to do that deep dive. And not only that, but immediately to make any changes that we can to make this process more robust in the future.
Speaker 16: (51:23)
Did that answer your question?
Speaker 21: (51:25)
Have any from Surfside-
Speaker 16: (51:29)
Well Surfside, I told you-
Speaker 21: (51:30)
You saw the published reports this morning.
Speaker 16: (51:32)
No, I didn’t. And that’s why, because I’m here in the news rather than watching it. But the bottom line is my commitment is we’re going to take everything we have, boxes, digitally, get it scanned and get it up on the web website. It is what it is. And we’re going to let you guys review it and we’ll address it as it comes. But like I said, I think all of us agree that the number-one priority today is to rescue people out of that rubble. Number two is to support the families, and then we’ll get to that, but just know that that is in the works and we will be 100% transparent.
Speaker 21: (52:12)
Speaker 17: (52:13)
And for Creole translation, [Ivan Morrisso 00:52:16]
Mayor Levine Cava: (52:26)
[crosstalk 00:52:26] I just wanted to acknowledge that we’ve been joined by our agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried.
Ivan Morrisso: (52:31)
And by the way, we want to thank all of you, for the news, the way you’re putting it, on behalf of the mayor, my colleagues. Thank you so much for what you’re doing.
Ivan Morrisso: (52:43)
[foreign language: Creole 00:52:43] – [foreign language: Creole 00:53:52].
Ivan Morrisso: (53:59)
[crosstalk 00:53:59] – [crosstalk 00:54:10]
Speaker 22: (53:59)
Yeah. I can hear you.