At least one person was killed and a massive search and rescue effort was underway for survivors following the partial collapse of a 12-story condominium building in Surfside early Thursday.
The collapse sent a cloud of debris through the neighborhood, coating cars up to two blocks away with a light layer of dust. Footage from the scene showed a large section of the sea-view side of the building collapsed into a pile of rubble.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett confirmed at least one person was killed in the collapse. It was unknown exactly how many people were injured or were inside the building at the time of the collapse but Burkett said at least 10 people were treated at the scene.
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said 53 people have been accounted for and upwards of 99 people are missing following the collapse.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said 35 people were rescued from the structure, and two people were pulled from the rubble after about 55 apartment units collapsed.
Officials at nearby Aventura Hospital said they had received three patients from the scene. Two were in critical condition.
A small fire appeared to break out in one part of the building on Thursday afternoon amid ongoing search and rescue efforts as smoke could be seen rising from one of the floors. No more information on the fire was immediately available.
Burkett warned during a news conference that the building manager told him the tower was quite full and the death toll was likely to rise. He also said the building could be in danger of additional collapse.
“The building is literally pancaked, it has gone down, and I mean there’s just feet in between stories where there were 10 feet,” Burkett said. “That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we’re gonna be as successful as we would want to be to find people alive.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis toured the site Thursday and said the search effort was ongoing.
“TV doesn’t do it justice, it is really traumatic to see the collapse of a structure like that,” DeSantis told reporters at a news conference at the site. “We still have hope to be able to identify additional survivors.”