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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7:56 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

CNN
CNN

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.

5:41 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

Still no cause determined for the building collapse, mayor says

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Hollie Silverman

A rescue worker walk among the rubble of the collapsed building, Thursday, June 24.
A rescue worker walk among the rubble of the collapsed building, Thursday, June 24. Lynne Sladky/AP

There is still no official cause of the partial building collapse, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during an afternoon news conference.

Structural engineers will be involved in the investigation as well as the city of Surfside and the fire department, she said.

According to the Miami-Dade County Police Department, they will investigate the incident after search and rescue operations are completed.

5:39 p.m. ET, June 24, 2021

37 people have been pulled from the rubble, fire official says

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Hollie Silverman

Thirty-seven people were pulled out of the rubble following the building collapse in Surfside, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Ray Jadallah said.

At least 11 people with injuries have been treated and four of those were transported, the assistant chief said. CNN reported earlier there is at least one person dead from the collapse.

Jadallah said there was a small fire that was extinguished earlier due to the shifting of the building, he said. Every time there is a shift in the rubble, there are chances for small fires to start in the building.

Rescuers plan to continue search and rescue operations through the night.

Watch here: