SURFSIDE, Fla. – A wing of a 12-story beachfront condo complex in a community outside of Miami fell with a roar early Thursday, killing at least one person and burying residents in rubble and twisted metal. During the morning, rescuers retrieved dozens of survivors from the tower and resumed their search for more.
The death toll was expected to grow, according to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, who said the building manager told him the tower was nearly full at the time of the collapse at 1:30 a.m.
Burkett said, “The building has literally pancaked.” “That is distressing because it implies that we will not be as successful in discovering people alive as we had hoped.”
According to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, around half of the building’s 130 units fell. By mid-morning, rescuers had extracted at least 35 people from the rubble, and heavy equipment was being brought in to assist stabilize the structure so they could gain further access, according to Raide Jadallah of Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue.
Burkett previously stated that two persons were taken to the hospital, one of whom died. He went on to say that 15 families left the building on their own.
The building’s roof is being repaired, but Burkett believes it had nothing to do with the collapse. Authorities have not stated what caused the incident.
“Given the wreckage that we’re seeing,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said, officials were “bracing for some horrible news.” The collapse ripped off walls, exposing a number of homes in the building’s still-standing portion in what appeared to be a large dollhouse.
Bunk beds, tables, and chairs were still inside, according to the television video. Some areas of the building had air conditioner units hanging from them, with wires dangling from them.
Some areas of the building had air conditioner units hanging from them, with wires dangling from them.
Barry Cohen, 63, claimed he and his wife were sleeping in the building when they heard what they assumed was a lightning strike. The couple stepped out onto their balcony, then opened the door to the building’s corridor, where they discovered “a mound of rubble and dust, with flames billowing everywhere.”
Cohen, the former vice mayor of Surfside, said, “I couldn’t walk out past my doorway.” “A gaping crater in the ground.”
He and his wife ultimately made their way to the basement, where they discovered rising water. They went upstairs, yelled for help, and firefighters used a cherry picker to bring them to safety.
After witnessing damaged pavers on the pool deck, Cohen said he voiced concerns years ago about whether the surrounding work was causing harm to the facility.
People who live in buildings near the collapse gathered at an evacuation station set up in a nearby community center after being urged to escape. Some people were in tears. Some people were still wearing their pajamas. Some children attempted to sleep on the floor on mats. The audience fell silent when a news briefing about the collapse aired on television.
Jennifer Carr was sleeping in a nearby building when she was startled awake by a loud boom and the shaking of her room. She believed it was a thunderstorm, but there was none on her phone’s weather app. The fire alarms went off in the building, and she and her family went outside to see the collapse.
Carr described the situation as “devastation.” “Everyone was yelling and running.”
Nicolas Fernandez was waiting for word on close family friends who lived in the building’s collapsed part early Thursday.
“I’ve been phoning them nonstop since everything happened, just trying to ring their telephones as much as we can to aid the rescue and see if they can hear the handsets.”
More than 80 units were “on the scene with help from local fire departments,” according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Hundreds of fire and rescue vehicles, ambulances, and police cars crowded the scene, blocking neighboring highways. Team after team of firefighters walked through the rubble, picking up survivors and carrying them out.
“We’re on the scene, so it’s still pretty active,” said Surfside Police Department Sgt. Marian Cruz. “I can tell you that the building has 12 floors,” says the narrator. The building’s entire backside has collapsed.”
One leg of the L-shaped structure appeared to be affected by the fall. The area directly outside the building was surrounded by piles of rubble and debris, and cars up to two blocks distant were covered in a light layer of dust from the debris.
In 1981, the seaside condo complex in Surfside’s southeast corner was completed. There were a few two-bedroom units on the market at the time, with asking prices ranging from $600,000 to $700,000.
The neighborhood contains a mix of new and historic flats, houses, condominiums, and hotels, as well as restaurants and shops that cater to a diverse group of inhabitants and visitors from around the world. With a slower-paced neighborhood feel, the hamlet presents a dramatic contrast to the bustling and glamor of nearby South Beach.
Sgt. Marian Cruz works for the Surfside Police Department, not Miami Dade Fire Rescue, as stated in the original story.