Prosecutors will ask grand jury to probe building collapse

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Crews from the United States and Israel work in the rubble Champlain Towers South condo, Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Prosecutors in Miami-Dade County will pursue a grand jury investigation into the deadly collapse of an oceanfront condominium building, officials said Tuesday.

Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference that she fully supports such an investigation. State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said she would bring the matter before grand jurors soon.

“I am going to urge them to take a look at it,” Fernandez Rundle told the Miami Herald. “Whether they do or not, it’s completely their decision.”

Grand juries in South Florida have examined other large-scale disasters, such as the 2018 collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University, which killed six people. That investigation is ongoing.

Criminal charges in such matters are possible, such as the third-degree felony murder and manslaughter charges brought in the 1996 accidental crash of ValuJet 592 in the Everglades that killed 110 people.

The grand jury’s investigation would examine factors and decisions that led to Thursday’s collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, killing at least 11 people and leaving 150 unaccounted for.