Experts discuss efforts to save survivors in Miami building collapse

Fire Chief Steven McGill and Peter Dyga, CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors, break down the investigation into what caused the collapse, what could’ve been done to prevent it and the rescue.
5:56 | 06/25/21

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Transcript for Experts discuss efforts to save survivors in Miami building collapse
To help put into perspective, the massive rescue effort underway and the investigation that has just begun, I spoke to the CEO of associated builders and contractors and the fire chief in Jersey City, new Jersey. Thank you both for joining us. Chief, let me begin with you. We all saw the dramatic video. When you see the way that the building collapsed and the search and rescue efforts throughout the day, what is the realistic window of opportunity do you think to find survivors? Obviously you want to find them as soon as possible, but it could take several days. It is going to be difficult to get into the lower floors of where the building collapsed. You are hoping there are voids or other types of spaces where you will be able to get to, whether through tunnelling or selected debris removal or a parking garage or a couple of levels underneath that where they are trying to get through that way. Either way, the fire department did what they needed to do. Get all of the victims out they needed to get. And now it is the time where it is the hardest. You have to remove debris. Every piece that you remove could have an effect on another piece of the building which could cause further collapse. You know, we saw dramatic images of crews working undergrounds and of dogs sniffing on top of the rubble. What techniques are typically used and what is the strategy moving forward, do you think? They are go to try to hear any sounds inside. They will deploy equipment where they can have a listening device threaded through any voids that are in there. Some of the equipment has video camera, scopes. They can see through that and they can listen for people banging on pipes or rocks. The dogs will be sniffing. During 9/11, any time you thought you heard something, everybody stopped moving to isolate where the sound is coming from. It is difficult to find people under 13 stories of rubble. It feels like everyone is holding their collective breath. You noted a collapse of this magnitude involves multiple failures. What are the various factors that you think could have contributed? Well, it is all speculation at this point, you know. There are literally thousands if not millions of building this height or higher around the world and you never see this. You never see a building collapse not caused by external force. There was talk about the construction that was done between the demolition of an old condo building and the construction of a new one between 16 and 19. There is talk about some of the roof work that was being done and also, you mentioned, just from seeing the video. You can see that wing of the building started to collapse from the middle section. As much as human nature wants an immediate answer, it will be a long time coming. You have to check the original plans and the engineering calculations and the building construction and maintenance and environmental impacts. It won't be an answer that comes We know of the study by Florida international university that found the land where the building was has been subsiding and that a building inspector went as recently as yesterday. What do you make of all of that? Again, we are in the land of speculation at this point. The fact that the inspector was there, and you know, the building was going through what is required in miami-dade county for a 40-year recertification. There was little concern, you know, all local officials said aside from some minor issues T D to be getting a clan bill of health. As far as the study goes based on data from the 90s that the ground may have been sinking two millimeters a year. If that is true, and that could be collaborated, it is something that you definitely have to look at when trying to find and to determine the cause of the accident. Especially if it is different from the structures around the neighborhood. Chief Mcgill, what type of dangers do you think the teams underground are facing as they search for survivors? What the firefighters and rescuers are doing right now is very difficult trying to tunnel their way through. There are a lot of sharp objects. There are a lot of ways to get injured through there. There is potentially a toxic environment in there. You are going to need to bring in meters with you to monitor the air and make sure you have enough oxygen in there. You also have to worry about the other things in that building. There is a pool. Where is their chlorine tank. Is it close to where a lot of the debris is. There are a lot of obstacles to get around. There is a problem of you can only have teams in there for so long without starting to - lose some kind of a mental capacity or you want to relieve them because you do not want them to just stay in there and sometimes you don't want to get out until you find somebody. Yeah. There is a lot of fight and investigation ahead. Thank you gentlemen for joining us with your insights. Thank you. Thank you. Up next, a final note. For 24hours. Just spray and let dry to form a shield that's proven to keep killing bacteria for 24 hours... ...Touch after touch. Microban 24. When heartburn takes you by surprise.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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