At least 156 missing after partial building collapse near Miami

By Fernando Alfonso III, Maureen Chowdhury, Zamira Rahim and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 7:03 a.m. ET, June 27, 2021
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10:17 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Miami-Dade Police identify 3 more victims

From CNN's Rosa Flores in Surfside, Florida, and Hollie Silverman in Atlanta

Cheri Fine and Mark (no last name provided) visit a makeshift memorial at the site of a collapsed building in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, on June 26.
Cheri Fine and Mark (no last name provided) visit a makeshift memorial at the site of a collapsed building in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, on June 26. Andrea Sarcos/AFP/Getty Images

Three more victims of the building collapse in Surfside have been identified, the Miami-Dade Police Department said in a news release Saturday night.

They were identified as Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; and Manuel LaFont, 54.

Antonio and Gladys Lozano lived in apartment 903, with Antonio Lozano recovered Thursday and his wife recovered Friday, according to the news release.

LaFont lived in apartment 804 and was recovered Friday, the release said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a Saturday evening news conference that five deaths had been confirmed.

Authorities previously identified Stacie Fang, 54, as one of the victims. The fifth victim has not been identified.

"Rescue workers have been working around the clock as they continue their search and rescue efforts," the news release said. "This unexpected tragedy has affected many families, loved ones, and our entire community. The Miami-Dade Police Department is committed to honoring and supporting all those affected during this very difficult and emotional process."

8:09 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Evacuation for other Champlain towers is voluntary after buildings were inspected by the city, Surfside mayor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

Evacuations for residents in Champlain Towers North and East are voluntary following the collapse of Champlain Towers South, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said at a Saturday night news conference.

The mayor said a Surfside building official did a cursory review of the structure at Champlain Towers North and East and "didn't find anything that was out of order."

"So that's reassuring, but that is not a deep dive," he added. "We are going to do a very deep dive into why this building fell down. And I imagine that is going to end up being a very sort of comprehensive project."

He said he was made aware Saturday of the 2018 report detailing structural issues.

After speaking with other officials, the decision was made to give residents the information so they can make the decision on whether to relocate. They are working with FEMA on relocation options.

Burkett said he spoke with the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, as well as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and has received tremendous support from everyone.

7:54 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Aggressive search-and-rescue operations continue

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team work in the rubble of the partially collapsed 12-story condo building.
Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team work in the rubble of the partially collapsed 12-story condo building. Giorgio Viera/EFE/Zuma Press

Crews are continuing to utilize their "aggressive search-and-rescue strategy" after human remains were found Saturday, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said at a Saturday night news conference.

Cominsky said fire crews were able to contain the fire that had caused smoke issues during rescue efforts around 10:30 a.m.

They are continuing to search the entire debris field, separated into multiple sections, he said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said rescuers are using a grid approach to search the pile and they continue to utilize sonar, cameras and K-9 resources.

They have minimized the use of heavy equipment today, she said.

US Sen. Marco Rubio said the State Department and other federal resources are on site providing assistance.

7:36 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

5 people are now confirmed dead and 156 are still missing, mayor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Five people are now confirmed dead from the building collapse in Surfside after search teams found another body Saturday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at an evening news briefing.

Three of the five victims have been identified, Levine Cava said. Their names are not being released out of respect for the families, she said.

Officials are depending on DNA testing to make identifications, according to Levine Cava.

"The process of identifying these victims is very difficult," she said. "We're going to be relying on DNA testing, and that is why we've already been gathering DNA samples from the family members. So they have all participated and provided DNA to assist us in the investigation."

This will allow for rapid DNA testing, which helped in identifying the three bodies found in the rubble, according to the mayor.

"As well, our search has revealed some human remains," she added.

There are now 130 people accounted for and 156 unaccounted for, according to Levine Cava.

"Our top priority continues to be search and rescue and saving any lives that we can," she said.

6:17 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Structural engineering company that inspected building in 2018 says it 'detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete' and gave estimate for 'extensive and necessary repairs'

From CNN's Rosa Flores in Surfside, Florida, and Hollie Silverman in Atlanta

Morabito Consultants, a structural engineering firm, said in a statement issued Saturday afternoon it completed a report in 2018 that "detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete" at Champlain Towers South and provided an estimate of costs to "make the extensive and necessary repairs."

CNN previously reported that the report noted major structural damage. 

Champlain Towers South Condominium Association hired the firm again in June 2020 to prepare a building repair plan for the 40-year recertification, according to the statement.

Morabito Consultants provides only engineering consulting services, not repair or restoration contracting, the statement said.

"We are deeply troubled by this building collapse and are working closely with the investigating authorities to understand why the structure failed. As we do so, we also continue to pray for all those impacted by this tragic event," the firm said in the statement.

Morabito Consultants has nearly four decades of experience providing services for building structures, including high-rises, residential and commercial buildings, as well as educational and health care facilities, according to the statement.

5:26 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

A father who was in the hotel next to the collapsed condo says he thought they were in a tornado, his kids are still shaken

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Daniel Groves was on vacation with his family in Surfside, staying on the second floor of a hotel next to the Champlain Towers when the collapse happened.

The family was "dead asleep" when the collapse occurred around 1:20 a.m., he said.

"It literally sounded like a bomb going off, like it was the loudest thing I've ever heard in my life," Groves told CNN. "The whole building shook. I mean, I felt like we were in the worst earthquake in my life."

"It shook very violently," he added.

Groves said he opened the curtains of his hotel room and couldn't see past more than four to five feet, but noticed a big crack in the glass where debris had hit. He said he thought they were in a tornado and began yelling at his wife to get up just as alarms began to sound in the building.

He and his wife grabbed their children, ages 3 and 7, leaving all their belongings behind and ran a few blocks away. Groves then took a video of the immediate aftermath of the collapse, still unsure of what had happened. The video shows the pile of rubble and debris littering the area. 

"The scariest thing. I thought a tornado literally just hit and they just said no, the building is gone," he is heard saying in the video.

He and his family have since gone to Disney to try to "get a little joy" following the tragedy.

"It's not real good. My kids are really shook," Groves said. "Toilet flushes, my kids are screaming. ... A bell on the elevator dings, my kids hold their ears. I don't know what the long-term effects are going to be."

4:53 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Escambia County is deploying THOR, a mobile command center, to help in rescue efforts

From CNN's Kay Jones

Courtesy Escambia County/Facebook
Courtesy Escambia County/Facebook

An emergency mobile command center from Florida's Escambia County is being deployed to aid in the recovery and rescue efforts of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse.

The command center, known as THOR, is scheduled to leave Sunday morning at the request of the state, the county's emergency management team said in a news release Saturday afternoon. An emergency management employee will also be deployed with THOR for 10 days.

The mobile command post offers 1,000 square feet of working space, according to the news release. It has a 44-kilowatt generator with 72 hours of fuel on board as well as dual air conditioning units. 

"The situation in which we have to use this resource is very unfortunate," Eric Gilmore, Escambia County's interim public safety director, said in a statement. "We are proud to assist our partners in any way we can."

Escambia County is in northwest Florida, on the border with Alabama.

4:26 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

The daughter of a woman missing in the collapse says her mother had concerns about work being done on other buildings

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Magaly "Maggie" Ramsey told CNN's Wolf Blitzer her mother Magaly Delgado, who is among the missing in the Champlain Towers South condo collapse, had raised concerns about work being done on other buildings having possible impacts on her building.

Ramsey said her mother didn't really complain about her building but had raised concerns about ongoing assessments as well as tremors from the construction of a new building nearby.

"I will say that when the other building beside it, which is relatively new, was being built she did complain of a lot of tremors and things that were being done to the other building that she sometimes was concerned what may be happening to her building that might be putting it at risk as a result," Ramsey explained.

Delgado came from Cuba and made her way to "live her best life" by the water in the Champlain Towers, where she had lived on the ninth floor for more than 10 years, according to Ramsey.

"She loved the building, she loved the community," she said.

The last time Ramsey spoke to her mother was about a surgery Ramsey had recently had. She missed her call Wednesday night and thought she would just give her a call back in the morning, but she never got the opportunity, she told CNN.

Ramsey said she learned of the collapse on the news.

"Other than this horrible thing going on right now, the worst thing is not to know," she said. "Knowing, whatever the outcome may be, you hope that they didn't suffer if something did occur. But knowing is a little bit healing in itself."

2:08 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Tributes continue near the condo building site as loved ones wait for news

From CNN's Faith Karimi 

As scores of family members wait to hear about their missing loved ones following the partial building collapse in Surfside, supporters continue to gather around the site to help any way they can.

Here's a look at those efforts: