Personal property recovered from destroyed units of a South Florida condominium that collapsed, killing 98 people, will be divided into two categories: soft material and hard material, according to a plan shown in front of a judge overseeing the litigation of the tragedy.
Only hard objects recovered by Miami-Dade police, rescue personnel and firefighters from the rubble where the Champlain Towers South building once stood will be returned to survivors and family members of those killed, officials said in court documents.
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That’s because soft, moisture-absorbing items, including clothing and bedding, would cost millions of dollars to decontaminate according to EPA guidelines, they said.
The exception to the rule are the photos, which Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava made a priority of returning to survivors, Michael Goldberg, an attorney appointed to handle the legal interests of the South Champlain Towers, said during of a hearing Thursday in Miami. Dade circuit court.
âAs the court and everyone understands, this can be one of the most important treasures,â Goldberg said.
Approximately $ 750,000 in cash was collected from the building ruins in Surfside, Florida. Family members and survivors will be reimbursed fairly quickly for easily identifiable money, either because it was in a wallet or purse with some ID such as a driver’s license. The paper invoices themselves will be transported by armored vehicle to the US Treasury in Washington, where they will be destroyed because they are contaminated. They will be replaced by checks, according to court documents.
âWe’re going to have requests for money that far exceed what comes up,â Goldberg said, noting that many bills were destroyed during the condominium collapse. Already, some people have made claims for tens of thousands of dollars, he said.
Seventeen safes were also recovered, and Goldberg said he expects the owners of most of them to be identified by their contents. If some are not, family members and survivors will have the option of providing Goldberg with a description of their content in order to retrieve them.
For properties whose owners cannot be identified, the items will be photographed, numbered and uploaded to a restricted access website. Survivors and their family members have one month to claim the objects they believe belong to them. If there are competing claims and Goldberg is unable to resolve the dispute, a hearing will be held before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman, who is presiding over the dispute.
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