At least 9 dead after partial building collapse near Miami

By Zamira Rahim, Peter Wilkinson and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 6:28 a.m. ET, June 28, 2021
5 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
6:22 a.m. ET, June 27, 2021

Police identify three more victims of building collapse

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

Three more deceased victims have been identified in the building collapse at Surfside, the Miami-Dade Police Department said on Saturday night.

A total of five deaths were confirmed by Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava during a press conference.

Stacie Fang, 54, had previously been identified by authorities, as reported by CNN.

The additional three victims were identified as Antonio Lozano, 83, Gladys Lozano, 79, and Manuel LaFont, 54.

Antonio and Gladys Lozano were both recovered from apartment 903.

Antonio was recovered on June 24, and Gladys was found the day after, according to a press release.

LaFont was recovered from apartment 804 on June 25, the release added.

A fifth victim has not yet been identified.

"Rescue workers have been working around the clock as they continue their search and rescue efforts," the 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."
People look at the makeshift memorial of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers building on Saturday, June 26, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
People look at the makeshift memorial of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers building on Saturday, June 26, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
5:07 a.m. ET, June 27, 2021

Evacuation for other buildings is voluntary, Surfside mayor says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman 

The Mayor of Surfside Charles Burkett, left, talks with Rachel Spiegel, right, who is looking for information on the Champlain Towers South Condo building, Saturday, June 26, in the Surfside area of Miami.
The Mayor of Surfside Charles Burkett, left, talks with Rachel Spiegel, right, who is looking for information on the Champlain Towers South Condo building, Saturday, June 26, in the Surfside area of Miami. Lynne Sladky/AP

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said residents can evacuate the other Champlain Tower buildings on a voluntary basis, following the disaster.

The mayor told reporters during a press conference Saturday that the Surfside building officials did a cursory review of the structure at Champlain Towers North and East, two other tower blocks 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."

Burkett said he was made aware of a 2018 report detailing structural issues at the site on Saturday.

After speaking with other officials, the decision was made to give residents the information, so they could make the decision on whether to relocate.

Officials are working with FEMA on relocation options.

Burkett said he had spoken with the White House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senators Rick Scott and Rubio as well as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

He said officials in the state have received tremendous support.

5:02 a.m. ET, June 27, 2021

Intensive search and rescue operations continue after body found

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Search and rescue personnel work to find any survivors or casualties in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 26, in Surfside, Florida.
Search and rescue personnel work to find any survivors or casualties in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 26, in Surfside, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Crews continued to search through the night after human remains were found Saturday, Alan Cominsky, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief said during a Saturday night press conference.

Cominsky said the teams at the collapse site were pushing on with an "aggressive search and rescue strategy."

He added that fire crews were able to contain the blaze that had earlier caused smoke issues during rescue efforts.

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

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levina Cava said that rescuers are using a grid search approach to search the site. They are using sonar equipment and cameras in their efforts and have minimized the use of heavy equipment.

Sen. Marco Rubio said the state department and other federal resources are on site providing any assistance they can.

5:00 a.m. ET, June 27, 2021

Death toll rises to five as body found in rubble

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Saturday, June 26, in Surfside, Florida.
Workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Saturday, June 26, in Surfside, Florida. Gerald Herbet/AP

Five people have now been confirmed dead after search teams found another body in the rubble at the collapsed Champlain Towers, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a Saturday night press briefing.

"Today our search and rescue teams found another body in the rubble," Levine Cava said. 
"Our search has revealed some human remains."

There are now 130 people accounted for and 156 unaccounted for, she said.

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

Three of the five victims have been identified, she said.

Officials are not naming the victims out of respect to the families.

Authorities are relying on DNA testing to identify the bodies.

"The process of identifying these victims is very difficult," Cava 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."

Cava added: "This allows us to do rapid DNA testing on site for bodies that we, and we know we identified three bodies in the rubble."

5:01 a.m. ET, June 27, 2021

Engineer raised concerns about structural damage at Surfside condominium in 2018 report

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

Rescue workers search the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condominium, Saturday, June 26, in the Surfside area of Miami.
Rescue workers search the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condominium, Saturday, June 26, in the Surfside area of Miami. Lynne Sladky/AP

A structural field survey report completed nearly three years before the collapse of the Champlain Towers south condominium complex in Surfside raised concerns about structural damage to the concrete slab below the pool deck and “cracking and spalling” located in the parking garage.

The report from October 2018 was included in a series of public records documents that were published overnight on the Surfside, Florida town website.  The New York Times was the first media outlet to publish a story about the field survey report.

Page seven of the report, the goal of which was to "understand and document the extent of structural issues that require(d) repair and/or remediation in the immediate and near future," detailed signs of “distress/fatigue” in the parking garage:

Abundant cracking and spalling of various degrees was observed in the concrete columns, beams and walls. Several sizeable spalls were noted in both the topside of the entrance drive ramp and underside of the pool/ entrance drive/ planter slabs, which included instances with exposed, deteriorating rebar. Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion.” 

Spalling is a term used to describe areas of concrete that have cracked or crumbled.

The 2018 report also noted that "many of the previous garage concrete repairs" were "failing."

The report also said the waterproofing below the pool deck was failing and causing "major structural damage."

“…the waterproofing below the pool deck and Entrance Drive as well as all of the planter waterproofing is beyond its useful life and therefore must all be completely removed and replaced. The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” the report read. 

It further noted that "the replacement of the existing deck waterproofing will be extremely expensive...be disruptive and create a major disturbance to the occupants of this condominium building."

The report, which didn't give any indication that the structure was at risk of collapse, was completed by Frank Morabito with Morabito Consultants. CNN reached out to Morabito Consultants on Friday who offered no comment.

An attorney for the building's condominium association, Kenneth Direktor, warned against early speculation. The building, he told CNN on Friday, had been subject to a series of inspections "over the last several months" as part of its milestone 40-year safety certification process. 

"Nothing like this was foreseeable," Direktor said. "At least it wasn't seen by the engineers who were looking at the building from a structural perspective."

CNN reached out to Kenneth Direktor on Saturday for comment.