Florida building collapse: memorial discussed for site

©Agence France-Presse

Some former residents of the collapsed block want to replace the wreckage with another apartment building

Miami (AFP) - A memorial honoring the victims of an apartment building collapse nearly three weeks ago in the Florida beachfront community of Surfside may be built on the site of the disaster, officials said Tuesday. 

The sudden condo collapse in a north Miami suburb killed at least 95 people, 85 of whom have been identified, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. Over a dozen are still missing. 

"We started to talk about the fact that we definitely need a memorial," Levine Cava told reporters. 

Officials are discussing where exactly to place the tribute and whether it would take up the all or just part of the site, she added. 

A petition on Change.org collected more than 1,200 signatures supporting the idea of a memorial where Champlain Towers South stood. 

"This was a mass casualty and each and (every one) of those missing and deceased should be remembered," the petition reads.

But some former residents want to replace the wreckage with another apartment building, said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, whose town counts a population of about 6,000. 

"Some of the families want to go back and live there again," he said. "They want the building rebuilt on a portion of the site. They acknowledge that a percentage of that site is a holy site." 

Authorites are still determining why the 12-story, beachfront apartment building partially collapsed on June 24. Multiple ongoing investigations have uncovered degraded infrastructure and overall structural issues. 

Following the accident, residents in the remaining structure were evacuated for its demolition, with authorities citing safety concerns.