As the search for the victims of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo complex in Surfside, Florida dragged on until its third day, smoke and debris permeated the air, which posed potential health risks.
“Air quality is worrying,” said Alan R. Cominsky, chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Department, at a news conference Saturday morning.
Thick smoke billows from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside. Photo AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee.
“We still have fans that we have placed in specific areas, and we use them to the best of our ability. “
Since Wednesday night, billows of smoke have billowed from the area, and the search and rescue team has routinely extinguished small fires that have ignited in the rubble.
The smoke and debris surrounding the partially collapsed 13-story condo have created a logistical challenge as the search for survivors and a potential health hazard to Surfside residents continues.
“There are respiratory concerns,” said Erika Benitez, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
“We ask people to stay inside and limit your exposure to the outdoors. “
Fine particles in smoke released from fires can get into the lungs and lead to a number of health problems, such as burning eyes, runny nose, and more long-term problems like chronic heart and lung diseases. according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
People with pre-existing breathing problems, pregnant women and the elderly are especially sensitive to poor air quality.
“The smoke is everywhere,” said Marisa Arnolf Stuzbercher, 45, who lives about 10 minutes from the collapsed building.
“Y here nobody wears a mask “.
Arnolf Stuzbercher said that he had not received any direct instructions from the local authorities on what to do.
The Miami-Dade Fire Department warned city residents on social media Friday night about the health risks.
“If you live near the Surfside building area, you may be experiencing smoky conditions, which can affect those with respiratory conditions,” the department tweeted.
Officials also instructed residents to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed.
Residents were advised to keep the air conditioning on to aid air circulation.
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