The death toll from the fallen condo building in Florida, US, has risen to 24 as of Saturday morning and 121 people are still missing.

Iran PressAmerica:  No one has been rescued since the first few hours after the collapse on June 24.

During a press briefing on Saturday evening, Levine Cava said the search-and-rescue was paused temporarily at 4:00 pm due to demolition preparation, which includes drilling into unstable columns.

The effort can restart once the remaining part of the building is demolished. “We’re proceeding as quickly as we possibly can,” Levine Cava said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the building can be brought down within 36 hours once the final plan is in place. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said the demolition could occur as early as Sunday.

“The fear was that the hurricane might take the building down for us and take it down in the wrong direction on top of the pile where we have victims,” Burkett said, referring to Elsa which has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Levine Cava signed a local state of emergency for Elsa on Saturday morning. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’re ensuring we’re mobilizing everything we need in the county to prepare for any possible impacts,” she said at the briefing.

The long-term forecast track shows Elsa heading toward Florida as a tropical storm by Tuesday morning, but some models would carry it into the Gulf or up the Atlantic Coast.

The accelerated plan comes a day after Levine Cava said the building would be demolished as soon as engineers signed off on the next steps, a process that could likely take weeks. Officials have restricted access to parts of the building zone that threaten public health and safety.

However, Levine Cava said a demolition expert came forward Friday evening with the experience to move more quickly than originally anticipated. Engineers and state, local, and federal authorities reviewed the plan and agreed it was the best path forward, Levine Cava said.

“This proposed demolition is a very narrow footprint so we’re not looking at major impacts to the area or additional evacuations,” Levine Cava said. “We are still in the due diligence process.”

The decision to demolish the portion of the building that’s still standing comes after search-and-rescue operations were halted most of Thursday out of concern that the remaining structure could fall.

The cause of the building collapse is still unknown. An engineering firm reviewed the condo tower in 2018, nearly three years before the collapse, and issued a report which found failed waterproofing below the building’s pool was causing “major structural damage.”