Partial building collapse near Miami

By Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Fernando Alfonso III and Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Updated 1109 GMT (1909 HKT) June 25, 2021
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7:54 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Son says his missing mother heard "creaking noises" a day before the building collapsed

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Pablo Rodriguez, whose mother and grandmother are among at least 99 missing, said his mother called him to report "creaking noises" she heard a day before the building collapsed. 

"She just told me she had woken up around 3 [or] 4 in the morning and had heard like some creaking noises," he told CNN's Erin Burnett. "They were loud enough to wake her."

"It was like a comment that she made off-hand, like that's why she woke up and she wasn't able to go back to sleep afterwards," he said. "...Now, in hindsight, you always wonder."

Rodriguez said he is holding out hope for the lives of his family members, but that given the nature of the collapse it is increasingly difficult as time passes.

"We are not exactly hopeful," he said. "...You always hold out hope, until you definitively know but after seeing the video of the collapse, it's increasingly difficult, because they were in that section that was pancaked in."

Rodriguez then described how his family had just begin to emerge from the hardships presented by Covid-19 when disaster struck again.

"Waves of devastation with troughs of disbelieve," he said, describing his feelings throughout today. "One second you are overwhelmed... and then another you get a semblance of normalcy because... This doesn't happen. Buildings don't just collapse. It's not real. So it's been like that all day."

Watch here:

7:31 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Florida rabbi calls for outpouring of kindness as his congregants remain among the missing

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

 Rabbi Sholom Lipskar
Rabbi Sholom Lipskar CNN

A local Florida rabbi today called for caring and empathy, even as number of his congregates remain among the missing in the partial building collapse in Surfside, Florida.

"This is something that transcends our capacity for understanding," said Rabbi Sholom Lipskar of the Shul of Bal Harbour.

"We accept it and we have to learn, as we do in our culture, resilience and to move forward because challenges don't hold us back," he said.

Lipskar then praised the community response so far, saying the "outpouring of caring, empathy, love, in the community, has been unprecedented, on any level."

"The way we help them is by just pouring kindness and empathy and being there where we don't leave them there for a moment, alone," he said of all those impacted by the disaster.

Watch here:

7:56 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Professor who studied collapsed building says it showed signs of sinking in the 1990s

From CNN's Curt Devine

Shimon Wdowinski, a professor with Florida International University’s Institute of Environment, told CNN he determined in a study last year that the Champlain Towers South condo showed signs of sinking in the 1990s.

The condo had a subsidence rate of about two millimeters a year from 1993 to 1999, according to his study. 

While Wdowinski said that this sinking alone would likely not cause the condo’s collapse, he said it could be a contributing factor. 

“If one part of the building moves with respect to the other, that could cause some tension and cracks,” he explained.

He added that that sinking was unique to the area of Champlain Towers South, not surrounding buildings. He said subsidence over larger areas was detected in western Miami Beach, which was constructed on reclaimed wetland.

“We noticed that the building was moving, and we reported that in the study, but we’ve seen buildings in other areas… moving at even higher rates, so we didn’t think it was something unusual. What’s unusual is that today it collapsed,” he said.

Wdowinski's study was first reported by USA Today

6:41 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Florida governor issues state of emergency to provide assistance for families affected by building collapse

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Thursday night to provide assistance for the families impacted by the collapse of Champlain Towers in Surfside.

At least one person died in the collapse, 37 people were pulled from the rubble and at least 99 people still remain unaccounted for, CNN reported.

The state of emergency declaration will allow all necessary resources to be diverted to the area including law enforcement and other emergency personnel, the order said.

7:36 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Surfside mayor says rescuers are fighting against time: "We have got a lot of work to do"

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch


Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told CNN that though there is a need to find out why the building collapse happened, the focus is on finding people.

“Today is not that day,” he said Thursday. “Today is the day to save lives and so we are 100% focused on that.”

Burkett said that they have support from all over the country.

“We’re not lacking for resources, we’re lacking for a little good luck,” he said.

Burkett said he was thankful for the first responders who arrived around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning and ran into the building that they were told was in imminent danger of collapsing.

“Those guys ran right into the building and they started pulling anybody that was left that didn’t walk out on their own power out of that building, so this is a story of courage and heroism, but it’s also a story of a fight against time right now,” he said.

“That’s the silver lining in this very, very dark cloud. We have some heroes on our hands, and we have got a lot of work to do,” Burkett added, vowing to not stop until they find all the people they can that are alive.

Watch here:

7:04 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Florida official calls building collapse "absolutely devastating"

From CNN’s Camille Furst

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez described the site of the partial condominium collapse as "absolutely devastating." 

Nuñez said she visited the site earlier today and that "what you see there in the rubble in the pictures and TV doesn't do it justice."

She went on to say that the first responders are still in search and rescue mode, and will remain that way for a few days. 

“I don't know at what point specifically they will switch from search and rescue to recovery, but our hope is that they'll continue to be able to work expeditiously and hopefully find some survivors,” she said. 

Some context: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not announced an emergency order, which would allow for a federal response.

Nuñez told CNN that DeSantis is "reviewing it as we speak," and that "right now there has been no unmet need from the county to the state."

6:11 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

3 Uruguayan citizens among those missing after building collapse

From CNN's Abel Alvarado and Valentina Moreira

Three Uruguayan citizens are among the missing after the partial collapse of a building in Surfside, Florida, on Thursday. 

According to Eduardo Bouzout, Uruguay’s consul in Miami, the consulate is in contact with local authorities and with the families of the people missing.  

"The relatives are very concerned, of course, because they have not been able to contact them since they have knowledge of this tragic collapse," said Bouzout in audio shared by the consulate with CNN. 

With this, there are currently citizens of at least four foreign countries — Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, and Paraguay — unaccounted for in the building collapse.

6:12 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Video shows fire rescue personnel working to find people trapped under the rubble

Fire rescue crews were seen working to find anyone buried under the rubble following the partial building collapse in Surfside.

A video tweeted by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department showed rescue personnel working in the basement parking garage at Champlain Towers.

Watch the video below:

5:50 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

American Red Cross assisting people displaced by building collapse

From CNN's Rosa Flores, Bonney Kapp and Hollie Silverman

The American Red Cross is assisting people displaced by the building collapse in Surfside, a statement said Thursday.

In conjunction with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department and other local authorities, American Red Cross is working to help people displaced in the Champlain Towers collapse, according to the statement.

"Families are dealing with the pain of losing their homes and the uncertainty of missing loved ones. To help them cope, the American Red Cross is finding safe places to stay for residents and others displaced by the crisis," the statement said.

"With Red Cross volunteers on the ground and more on their way, we are meeting families where they are by providing the basics like food and water—and offering mental health support and spiritual care as survivors begin to process their emotions," they added.