Miami-Tate Mayor: Everything was done to find pets in the rubble
First responders searched the cupboards and under the beds and used drones with heat cameras to search for any pets left in the ruins of the Champline Towers Southern Condominium before deciding to demolish the existing building structure. Officials said Monday.
The building collapsed Sunday night, leaving more than 115 people missing after more than a week of partial collapse that killed more than 20 people.
Prior to the crash, the Miami County mayor said rescue teams were searching for animals and checking for hiding places – in inaccessible areas – using ladders on cranes to inspect the remains of the 12-story building. Daniel Levine Cava at a press conference.
“We did everything we could to search for any pets or any animals before the building was demolished,” Levin Kawa said.
The official said emergency teams used drones with heat cameras that could fly over the ruins, tower and other areas. The doors were left open to allow any stray pets to leave the premises, and traps were placed on the balconies despite the “greatest personal danger” to lifeguards.
“I want to make it as clear as possible that we have done everything we can at every step and urge our community to understand that our emergency crews are in great danger. To ensure that all pets are loving members of the family – none of them are inside the building before it is demolished.”
Seeing a cat on Saturday gave family members and animal protection groups the hope that some pets could still be rescued.
One of the survivors, Susanna Alvarez, was left on the 10th floor after her beloved four-year-old cat Mia went missing. On Sunday, Alvarez actively tried to contact first responders to determine if he had found his cat.
“My cat is still there, Mia, I know she’s under my bed,” he commented. “What are you thinking?”
Alvarez, 62, was ready to go into the condo with his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, before the tragedy occurred. A week ago, he brought his cat to the condo and recorded her as an emotional support animal.
The cat was shy and usually hid under the bed, although recently she started coming out more, Alvarez said.
In a panic as the building collapsed, Alvarez left the apartment and only took his cellphone with him for his flashlight, wondering if it was time to go back to get Mia out of bed when he escaped from the fallen stairs.