MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Saturday afternoon, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said they were able to contain a fire within the rubble.
That fire had been hampering rescue efforts at the site of the Surfside collapsed building.READ MORE: Calls Continue For Cuban Embassy In DC To Be Shut Down
While rescue crews keep searching the collapsed Surfside condo for survivors, they had been dealing with a fire deep beneath the rubble.
The fire and smoke slowed down their recovery efforts.
“We’re facing very incredible difficulties with this fire,” said Mayor Cava during a press conference on Saturday morning.
“We have cleaning products, we have detergents, we have mattresses and couches and furniture. All these things are combustible products. When these things are intact they’re completely safe but everything in these apartments are out of their original packages. Now we have chemicals mixing together. We have aerosols being punctured, their cans being punctured, any of these things exposed to the environment can potentially lead to mixing and becoming a fire,” said Maggie Castro, with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Mayor Cava says teams were doing everything they can to locate the source of the fire. They’ve resorted to digging a trench around the area to slow its spread so they can focus their search area on spots that were not burning.READ MORE: Florida Argues CDC Violated Cruise Case Injunction
“We are using infrared technology, we’re using foam, we’re using water, and all the tactics that we can to contain the fire and minimize the smoke spread. Obviously, the smoke itself is the biggest barrier,” said the mayor.
The smoke, she said, isn’t just billowing up, but laterally.
“So as we’re moving debris, we stil haven’t come across anything along a sign of life,” said Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky.
Crews typically use air respirators in these situations.
Cominsky says the use of ventilation systems can work, but sometimes can cause more harm than good.MORE NEWS: Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho On Mask Use For Upcoming School Year: 'Decision Cannot Be Rushed'
“So, yes the air quality is a concern, but we still have ventilation fans that we set up in specific areas and we use them to the best that we can, but there’s also a concern in regards to adding more air that you could increase whatever is smoldering,” said Cominsky.