What caused Surfside building collapse? One dead as rescue operation continues

A massive search and rescue operation was initiated at the South Florida building as rescue crews checked the wreckage for survivors


                            What caused Surfside building collapse? One dead as rescue operation continues
A portion of the 12-story building crumbled to the ground during a partial collapse on June 24, 2021, in Surfside (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Search and rescue operations continue after a Surfside multi-story building collapsed in Miami on Thursday, leaving one person dead and several others injured. The 12-story residential building partially collapsed in southern Miami-Dade County in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach.

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue received a call about a partial collapse at the Champlain Towers South condominium at around 1:30 am local time. In a similar incident on June 23, a pedestrian bridge collapsed on DC-295 in Northeast Washington, DC. At least six people were reported injured. Last year, at least 35 people were reported dead after a major motorway bridge collapsed near the Italian city of Genoa.

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A massive search and rescue operation was initiated as crews checked the wreckage for survivors. According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue assistant chief Ray Jadallah, 35 people trapped inside the building, two of whom were beneath the rubble, had been rescued so far. Jadallah further told reporters that at least 10 people were given medical treatment on site, while two were rushed to local hospitals. One of them succumbed to injuries. According to Jadallah, the oceanfront condominium has 136 units, and approximately 55 of them collapsed on the northeast corridor.

A portion of the 12-story condo tower crumbled to the ground during a partial collapse of the building on June 24, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has sent more than 80 units to the scene and is leading the ongoing search and rescue efforts. The number of residents unaccounted for was unclear at the moment. Witnesses told Miami ABC affiliate WPLG that people are still trapped inside the building as the rescue operation goes on. According to reports, Miami Dade authorities declared a "Level 5" mass casualty event, requiring statewide emergency resources.

What caused the collapse?

According to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, the condominium was built in the 1980s and was full at capacity at the time of the collapse. He also informed that the building was undergoing roof work. The cause of the collapse is unknown at the moment. The Miami-Dade Police Department is working to unearth the cause. Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Freddy Ramirez told reporters that investigators will conduct a "thorough" probe to provide "closure" to the affected families.

Search and rescue personnel work in the rubble of the 12-story condo tower that crumbled to the ground after a partial collapse of the building on June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during a press conference, "We need to allow them (rescue team) to do their work because every minute in this search can make a huge difference." Florida Governor Ron DeSantis plans to travel to the scene soon. He said, "It’s a really, really tragic situation, so we’ll hope for the best in terms of additional recoveries. But we are bracing for some bad news, just given the destruction we are seeing."

A family assistance center at the Surfside recreational center for individuals unable to locate families who live in the Champlain Towers South was opened by the authorities. Anyone with family members from the building who are either safe or still missing is requested to call 305-614-1819 to account for them.

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