Huge emergency operation under way after building collapse in Miami

Cheryl Sanders
June 24, 2021

While there were no official confirmations of death or injury so far, ABC News said eight people had been hospitalized and CBS reported that at least one person has died. "What I can tell you is the building is 12 floors".

Images from the Surfside neighbourhood show a huge pile of rubble down one side of what appears to be a residential apartment building.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was heading to the scene soon, and expressed his sympathies to the families affected as well as his gratitude to the first responders for saving several people.

"We're on the scene so it's still very active", said Sgt Marian Cruz of the Surfside Police Department.

"We'll hope for the best in terms of additional recoveries, but we are bracing for some bad news, just given the destruction that we're seeing", DeSantis said at an event at a community college near Tampa.

The oceanfront condominium, which was built in the 1980s, has over 100 apartment units and was believed to be substantially full when a third of it collapsed in the early morning hours, according to Burkett.

It is unclear how many people were inside the building at the time.

Burkett said that the city and the Red Cross are looking into housing options for those displaced from the building. Jadallah said heavy machinery was being brought in to stabilize the structure for rescue workers. Some residents were able to walk down the stairs to safety while others had to be rescued from their balconies. Miami Dade Fire Rescue is conducting search and rescue.

Dozens of people were evacuated from the building and from a nearby hotel, but it was not known how many more casualties there could be as the search and rescue operation was still continuing, officials said.

Scores of rescue units rushed to the partially collapsed building and firefighters were seen pulling out survivors.

Resident Barry Cohen and his wife were rescued from the building. "Never", Burkett told reporters at a press conference. "I realised it didn't stop and kept on going for like 30 seconds", Mr Cohen said.

The Miami-Dade Police have assumed control of the investigation.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said: "Over 80 MDFR units... are on scene with assistance from municipal fire departments".

Eyewitness video obtained by Reuters showed neighbours gathering across the street from the rubble. One man whose wife was staying in the condo as an overnight caretaker says, "She said she heard a big explosion".

Other reports by iNewsToday