At least one person was killed and several others injured when a 12-story apartment building in Miami partially collapsed early Thursday, prompting a massive search-and-rescue effort.
It was unclear how many people lived in the oceanfront 136-unit Champlain Towers building on Collins Avenue in the town of Surfside — just north of Miami Beach — or had been inside at the time of the collapse.
“This is a horrific catastrophe. In the United States, buildings just don’t fall down,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said, CNN reported.
Burkett said 10 people have been treated at the scene and that the part of the building left standing has been cleared. He added that the building was undergoing roof work, but he couldn’t say whether that was a contributing factor to the collapse.
At one point, firefighters were seen pulling a boy from the debris and placing him onto a stretcher, NBC Miami reported. A CBS Miami reporter tweeted that the boy was around 10 years old.A massive search-and-rescue effort is underway after the partial collapse of a 12-story building near Miami Beach early Thursday.
A source told CBS Miami that the person killed was a woman.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said “cause unknown” when asked about what led to the collapse, adding that the county’s Fire and Rescue Department was taking the lead in rescue operations, the Miami Herald reported.
A source involved with the county’s response told the outlet that the portion of the building that collapsed contained 45 units.
Firefighters used truck-mounted ladders to reach residents trapped on balconies and believe some people may be trapped in the rubble, CBS Miami reported.
The sprawling complex — where units sell for up to $2.8 million — is just one block from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s home, Yahoo News reported.At least one person was killed and eight others injured when part of an apartment building fell near Miami Beach.EPAA view of the partially collapsed tower in Surfside, Florida.EPA
One witness who was on vacation with his family told Fox News he was next door when he heard what sounded like a tornado or earthquake.
“It was the craziest thing I ever heard in my life,” he said, adding that he believed much of the building was occupied when it collapsed about 1:20 a.m.
“What I can tell you is the building is 12 floors. The entire back side of the building has collapsed,” Cruz said.
Chilling images and footage from the scene show piles of rubble and debris surrounding the area just outside the building.
Santo Mejil, 50, woke up when his wife called from a unit on the ninth floor of the south condo, one of three buildings that comprise the Champlain Towers complex.Officials have yet to say what may have caused the building to partially collapse.
“She said she heard a big explosion. It felt like an earthquake,” Mejil told the Miami Herald about his wife, an overnight caretaker for an elderly disabled woman.
As he described rushing over to the site from their home near Miami International Airport, his wife called.
One witness shared video of the aftermath on social media, saying he had been staying at a nearby hotel and had to be evacuated after the collapse, NBC Miami reported.
“The building, one of these huge buildings, gone, right there beside us, the craziest thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” the man says in the clip. “Look at the building, it’s gone.”
“I was able to just see probably a third, if not half of the building literally collapsed,” the witness told the news outlet.
“I just can’t put into words, it looks like a bomb hit, it looks like something in one of these Third World countries that just literally collapsed, like a pancake straight down, and there’s just an incredible pile of rubble,” the person added.
“The building shook and then I looked out the window and you couldn’t see, I thought it was like a storm or something coming in. When the dust cleared, the back two-thirds of the building was gone, it was down to the ground,” he told CBS Miami.
And another witness said he was strolling with his brothers and their dog in the neighborhood when the structure came down.
“Basically we heard a really big rumble and we thought it was a motorcycle, you know, and we turned around and saw a cloud of dust just coming our way. We were like what is going on,” he told the outlet.A third person said he was on vacation in the city with his family next door when he heard what sounded like a tornado and felt something like an earthquake.AP
“We went rushing toward it with shirts over our faces and the security guard came out and we were like, ‘What happened?’ and she said the building collapsed.”
Officials have yet to say what may have caused part of the oceanside building — which was built in 1981 with more than 100 units — to crumble about 2 a.m.
The area around 88th Street and Collins and Harding avenues has been shut down for several blocks, with dozens of fire engines and rescue vehicles lining the streets.At one point, firefighters were seen pulling a boy from the debris and placing him onto a stretcher.
A Technical Rescue Team was being assisted by municipal fire departments in the search for survivors, officials said.
According to Miami Real Estate Trends, units in the building range in price from $409,000 to $2.8 million.