Report: Miami-Dade employee deleted audio files related to Surfside building collapse

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue: ‘Employee failed to properly retain’ audio available on Broadcastify

Search-and-rescue personnel use a crane to remove a stretcher from the rubble of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. (Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

SURFSIDE, Fla. – A USA Today investigation revealed that a Miami-Dade County employee deleted “critical audio files” related to last year’s condominium collapse in Surfside.

Those files chronicled the search-and-rescue effort in the hours after the Champlain Towers South collapse. A spokesperson for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said Sunday the employee did not delete audio files related to the Surfside building collapse.

“An employee made a miscalculation in the timeframe the audio was available for retention and failed to properly retain it during that time,” the spokesperson wrote in an e-mail. “This is far from an intentional deletion of the audio.”

According to Fire Rescue, the audio was later obtained through third-party service Broadcastify.

USA Today reports that the audio includes communications between fire rescue teams and dispatchers. County officials reportedly admitted to the mistake after months of questioning.

The disaster happened in the early morning hours of June 24, killing 98 people.