SURFSIDE, Fla. – Firefighters worked to extinguish a fire on Thursday afternoon in what was left of a second-floor apartment. It was one of the many obstacles rescuers faced at the scene of a 40-year-old partially collapsed building in Miami-Dade County.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on Thursday, it took seconds for a side of the 12-story condominium building to crumble. Fire Rescue personnel responded to the L-shaped Chaplain Towers South, at 8777 Collins Ave., in the town of Surfside.
Search and rescue efforts that included dogs and drones were ongoing more than 15 hours later. They are looking for air pockets under heavy concrete. They faced piles of debris, rain, and dusty wind. People’s belongings were scattered.
One death was confirmed. Authorities said 102 residents survived, 99 were unaccounted for and one person was dead. Relatives waited for news of their loved ones in the periphery and at the town’s reunification center.
According to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, there was ongoing roof work in the building, which was in the process of recertification.
Structural inspections are required during the recertification process. There were more than 130 units. Most of them had views of the ocean or the intercoastal waterway.
President Joe Biden’s administration, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava were waiting for updates on victims and what caused the partial collapse.