Rescuers resumed their search early Monday for more than 120 people who remain unaccounted for at the site of a collapsed condominium in Surfside, Fla., just hours after the rest of the building was demolished.
Debris from the planned demolition on Sunday evening was already being cleared away by crews by Monday morning to allow rescuers access to the building's underground garage, The Associated Press reports.
Officials had been worried about the structural integrity of the remaining portions of the building as Tropical Storm Elsa approached the state. Forecasters now say the storm will hit Florida on Tuesday, though Surfside is not expected to be directly in its path. Tornadoes are reportedly possible in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, however.
The AP notes that officials are particularly interested in accessing parts of the garage area, which may give authorities a clearer picture of the voids that exist underneath the rubble and may be harboring missing people. No one has been found alive since the initial hours after the collapse.
Before rescue efforts were paused last week in preparation for the demolition, the death toll increased to 22 with 126 people still missing.
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Albert Cominsky said before the demolition that once a new pathway into the initial rubble is secure, "we will go back to the debris pile, and we’ll begin our search and rescue efforts."
“It was picture perfect. Exactly what we were told would happen,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said to the AP about the demolition, which occurred at around 10:30 p.m. local time.
“I feel relief because this building was unstable. The building was hampering our search efforts,” Levine Cava added.
--Updated at 7:45 a.m.