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Firefighters deal with small fire coming from partially collapsed building in Surfside

Search and rescue efforts continue; 99 people unaccounted for

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.

There was a partial collapse early Thursday morning at the Chaplain Towers South, at 8777 Collins Ave., in the town of Surfside. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

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.

Fire Rescue personnel work at the site of a partial building collapse early Thursday morning in the town of Surfside. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

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.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel walk with an empty stretcher past the scene where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed, Thursday, June 24, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Sky 10 over partial building collapse in Surfside. (WPLG)

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About the Authors:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.