SURFSIDE, Florida. The oceanfront side of a beachfront condo tower in Surfside, Miami, collapsed early Thursday morning. The incident left neighbors trapped in rubble and iron, and raised a cloud of dust that covered cars parked two blocks away.
Dozens of emergency workers came to the scene. Firefighters were seen pulling survivors out of the rubble.
Santo Mejil, 50, told the Miami Herald that his wife had called him from the building, where he worked as an assistant for an elderly woman.
He said he had heard a big bang. It felt like an earthquake, ”Mejil told the newspaper. She later called him and told him that rescuers were taking her downstairs.
# Latest | More than 80 units of fire and rescue services are at the scene of a partial collapse of a building in Miami. Witness video shows debris spilling from what was left of the building’s balconies. pic.twitter.com/qlj8lNudnA
– TCS News (@tcsnoticias) June 24, 2021
The emergency services made a huge deployment at the scene.
Miami Dade County firefighters were conducting search and rescue operations and said in a tweet that more than 80 units were “at the scene with assistance from municipal fire services.”
The authorities had not yet reported if there were victims or detailed how many people lived in the building.
Surfside Police Sgt. Marian Cruz said the situation was still developing, although “I can tell you that the building has twelve stories. The entire rear of the building has collapsed. “
Victor Cohen, who lives nearby, told WPLG television that a major renovation of the building was underway when the part facing the sea “collapsed like a pancake.”
Fire crews walked through the wreckage, picking up survivors and leading them out of the rubble.
The collapse left several apartments exposed in the area of the building that was still standing. Television images showed bunk beds, tables and chairs still inside the damaged homes. In some points air conditioners hung, with cables in the air.
#United States One dead and several injured after the partial collapse of a twelve-story building located in Miami-Dade County, in the south of the US city of Florida.
– Central De Noticias (@CtralDeNoticias) June 24, 2021
The police closed the nearby streets and dozens of rescue vehicles and firefighters, ambulances and police flooded the place.
Photos and videos of the site showed that the collapse affected half of the tower. There were piles of rubble and debris around the building. Firefighters had not yet given a cause for the collapse, near 88th Street and Collins Avenue.
The building’s address was 8777 Collins Avenue, according to Surfside police. The ocean side of the residential property was built in 1981 in southeast Surfside, on the beach. At this time there were some two-bedroom apartments for sale with prices between $ 600,000 and $ 700,000, according to police.
There is a mix of old and new apartments, single-family homes, condos, and hotels in the area. Restaurants and shops serve tourists and residents of the area. The population is a stark contrast to the brightness of South Beach, with a quieter atmosphere.