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Ryan Robertson

Anchor/Investigative Reporter

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U.S.

Ceremonies held for Florida tower collapse anniversary

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor/Investigative Reporter

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It’s been one year since a 12-story oceanfront condo tower collapsed in Surfside, Florida, killing 98 people.

The disaster at Champlain Towers South marked the largest emergency response in Florida history that did not involve a hurricane.

The one-year anniversary was marked by a day of ceremonies, including remarks from first lady Jill Biden.

“We honor the light you found in each other,” Biden said to a crowd of people during one ceremony. “A fellowship that you never wanted to be a part of but draw strength from just the same.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also announced the renaming of Collins Avenue in front of the disaster site to 98 Points of Light Road in honor of the lives lost.

Only two teenagers and one woman survived the tower’s fall and were pulled from the rubble. Others escaped from a part of the building that initially remained standing.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation, but it will likely take years before any answers are known. A judge did approve a settlement package Thursday, though, topping $1 billion.

Champlain towers south had a long history of maintenance problems and questions have been raised about the quality of its original construction in the 1980’s and the inspections since then. In addition to these factors, other possible causes of the collapse include rising sea levels and the construction of a luxury condominium nearby.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is leading the federal probe into the collapse. The NIST said invasive testing will soon start on samples of material from the collapse site. The testing will help determine if there were flaws in the building’s structural elements that led to the collapse.

In the wake of the disaster, Gov. DeSantis signed a bill into law which requires statewide recertification of any condo more than three stories tall.

The death toll in the Champlain Towers collapse ranks among the highest in U.S. history among similar disasters. The 1981 Hyatt Regency walkway collapse killed 114 people and a Massachusetts mill disaster in 1860 killed somewhere between 88 and 145 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

IT’S BEEN ONE YEAR SINCE A 12 STORY OCEANFRONT CONDO COLLAPSED IN FLORIDA, KILLING 98 PEOPLE.

THE DISASTER AT CHAMPLAIN TOWERS SOUTH IN SURFSIDE FLORIDA MARKED THE LARGEST EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN FLORIDA HISTORY THAT DIDN’T INVOLVE A HURRICANE.

THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY WAS MARKED BY A DAY OF CEREMONIES, INCLUDING REMARKS FROM FIRST LADY JILL BIDEN.

BIDEN: WE HONOR THE LIGHT YOU FOUND IN EACH OTHER. A FELLOWSHIP THT YOU NEVER WANTED TO BE A PART OF, BUT DRAW STRENGTH FROM JUST THE SAME. 

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS ALSO ANNOUNCED THE RENAMING A STRETCH OF ROAD IN FRONT OF THE DISASTER SITE TO 98 POINTS OF LIGHT ROAD IN HONOR OF THE LIVES LOST.

ONLY TWO TEENAGERS AND A WOMAN SURVIVED THE FALL AND WERE PULLED FROM THE RUBBLE. OTHERS ESCAPED FROM A PART OF THE BUILDING THAT INITIALLY REMAINED STANDING.

THE CAUSE OF THE COLLAPSE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION, BUT IT WILL LIKELY TAKE YEARS BEFORE ANY ANSWERS ARE KNOWN.

A JUDGE DID APPROVE A SETTLEMENT PACKAGE THURSDAY THOUGH, TOPPING $1 BILLION.