Miami building collapse Florida building collapse At least 1 dead nearly 100 unaccounted
Desperate search for Surfside building collapse survivors continues … Thu, 24 Jun 2021 05:00:00 -0700-After a night of searching, rescue crews are working Friday to search for the 99 unaccounted for after a 12-story condominium building collapsed.
- 12-story beachfront building 'pancaked' when it collapsed
- Urgent search for survivors continues Friday
- Building was undergoing an inspection but cause remains unknown
Nearly 100 people remain unaccounted for Friday morning, a day after a 12-story beachfront condominium building just north of Miami collapsed, killing at least one person.
A wing of the residential building in Surfside, Florida, came down with a roar around 1:30 a.m. Thursday. On video footage captured from nearby, the center of the building appeared to fall first, with a section nearest the ocean teetering and coming down seconds later as a huge dust cloud swallowed the neighborhood.
ABC News reported the death toll had risen to three people, but calls to fire and police officials were not returned Friday morning.
Fire Rescue personnel and others worked through the night Thursday in hopes of finding survivors.
Early Friday, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency authorizing funding and other disaster relief to Surfside, a small, tight-knit community with about 6,000 residents.
Here's what we know right now:
Hot and muggy morning for first responders
Rescuers will wrestle with typical South Florida summer weather through the weekend, including spotty morning showers.
The National Weather Service said temperatures would reach a high of 86º in Miami on Friday. Rain chances are between 50% and 70% through the weekend but accumulation amounts each day in the Miami area are expected to be a half-inch or lower.
Winds were also blowing 15 mph, with gusts up to 21 mph.
In area around the building, the air was thick with debris and dust. The streets nearby were mostly empty except for emergency workers, news media and a few local residents milling about. The reunification center for people trying to find their families was still abuzz.
Family members swabbed for DNA at reunification center
After hours without any news Thursday afternoon, police officers arrived at the reunification center.
Officers told families they would come inside one at a time and, depending on what they were told, they would be swabbed for DNA on the police clinic van parked adjacent to the community center building.
Some broke out into tears upon emerging from the room. A young woman wearing a long white blouse and jeans fainted before making it to the van.
Investigators working to determine what caused the collapse
Authorities have yet to say what may have caused the collapse near 88th Street and Collins Avenue. Police blocked nearby roads, and dozens of fire and rescue vehicles, ambulances and police cars converged on the area.
A researcher at Florida International University said the building was constructed on reclaimed wetlands and was determined to be unstable a year ago. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said roofing work was being done on the building.
According to the Miami-Dade County Police Department, authorities will investigate the incident after search and rescue operations are completed, CNN reported.
Residential building was undergoing an inspection
Built in 1981, the building was only 40 years old. Florida requires all buildings and properties to be inspected every 40 years to be recertified and Miami-Dade County officials were in the process of inspecting the building before its collapse, according to the Miami Herald.
The newspaper reported the inspections examine whether a structure is stable and safe and the building's association recently hired an engineer to examine electrical and structural changes.
Engineers were coming through to inspect the building, said Oren Cytrynbaum, an attorney who owns two units in the building along with his family and wasn't there when it collapsed. According to Cytrynbaum, there were some repairs done to the roof before the fall but nothing else he was aware of.
USA TODAY Investigation:Collapsed Miami condo had been sinking into Earth as early as the 1990s, researchers say
First responders 'not giving up' in search for survivors
Crews donning hardhats and accompanied by search and rescue dogs scavenging through the piles of concrete and cables searching for any signs of life. Thunderstorms, heavy damage and changing conditions hindered efforts to locate victims, but first responders were “not giving up” the search, said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett on CNN.
They looked for gaps in the wreckage and used a garage under the building as a tunnel system to maneuver throughout the building. Ray Jadallah, assistant fire chief of Miami-Dade Fire & Rescue, said earlier Thursday crews were using sonar equipment to detect any movements in the debris and ensure safety for crews.
The equipment detected what Jadallah said sounded like “banging.”
“We did receive sounds, not necessarily people talking, but sounds,” he said, describing it as possible banging under the layers of debris.
'The building is literally pancaked':Heartbreaking images capture the Surfside building collapse and rescue efforts
Who is missing in the frantic race for survivors
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett has confirmed that at least one person died. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said officials were able to account for 102 people thus far, but 99 were still unaccounted for.
Relatives of the first lady of Paraguay were among the 99 people who are unaccounted for, Leticia Robertti, a spokesperson for the Consul General of Paraguay in Miami, told USA TODAY.
They included the sister of the first Lady, Sofia Lopez Moreira Bó, the sister's husband, Luis Pettengill, their three children and their nanny, Lady Luna Villalba. Other Paraguayans were also among those unaccounted for.
About 20 Jewish people were also among the unaccounted for, including some with Israeli citizenship, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Consul General of Israel in Miami, told USA TODAY.
Some residents had been plucked from the building by firefighters using ladders. Other searchers were trying to reach a trapped child whose parents were believed to be dead. In one case, rescuers saved a mother and child, but the woman’s leg had to be amputated to remove her from the rubble.
Contributing: John Bacon, Romina Ruiz-Goiriena, and Christal Hayes, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.
Florida building collapse: At least 1 dead, nearly 100 unaccounted … Thu, 24 Jun 2021 05:00:00 -0700-President Joe Biden approved a Florida emergency declaration after a deadly building collapse left three dead and up to 99 missing.
Biden authorized DHS and FEMA “to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.”
As the investigation into the residential building that collapsed in Surfside, Florida, continues, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told ABC News Friday that three more bodies have been pulled from the rubble, bringing the death toll to four.
The three people were found Thursday night and have not yet been identified, the mayor said.
As of Friday morning, 99 people remain unaccounted for, but Cava said there is still hope.
“I do want to emphasize that 102 people have been accounted for and that number is way up from the original count and so we’re very, very grateful for the hard work of our firefighters on the scene working throughout the night day and night from above and from below.”
A White House statement released at around 1 a.m. ET confirmed the president authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures…”
FEMA was authorized to identify, mobilize and provide equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the emergency, the statement read. That includes “debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.”
Cava said she is “so grateful to the president” for his efforts to help Surfside as they try to understand and get through this tragedy. “He called me yesterday morning, asked me what I needed. I told him FEMA would be a great, great assist to us, and he moved mountains,” the mayor said.
Friday morning, authorities — with the help of structural engineers on the scene — are still trying to understand the cause of the collapse, and rescue efforts remain in effect. Cava said there is no evidence to indicate that the collapse was a result of foul play.
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– June 24, 2021
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