The sea-view side of a beachfront condo tower collapsed in the Miami area town, killing at least one and trapping residents under rubble. Rescue units rushed to the partially collapsed building while firefighters were seen pulling survivors from twisted metal and concrete debris.
As Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said during a news conference, the building manager told him that the building was substantially full.
“She said she heard a big explosion. It felt like an earthquake,” Mr. Mejil told the newspaper. He said she later called him and said rescuers were bringing her down.
"At the moment, I thought it was a bus accident or something like that," said Santo Mejia. "When she called me again to tell me flames and people were dying outside of her room, I knew then this is not an ordinary fire."
“We’re on the scene, so it’s still very active,” said Sgt. Marian Cruz of the Surfside Police Department. “What I can tell you is the building is 12 floors. The entire backside of the building has collapsed.”
Victor Cohen, who lives nearby, told television station WPLG that the building had been undergoing a major renovation when the ocean-front wing “collapsed like a pancake.”
Teams of firefighters walked through the rubble picking up survivors and carrying them from wreckage after Mayor Burkett said roof work was being done on it but added he didn't see how that could have caused it to collapse.
The infrastructure of the building was left exposed by what appears to be a natural disaster. In some areas, wires were hanging from air conditioner units while in others, people still resided inside with their belongings just as they had been before it all happened
Police blocked nearby roads and rescue vehicles swarmed the area.
The sea-view condos in Surfside, a lively community with international residents and tourists, are perfect for those looking to live on the beach while enjoying an easygoing lifestyle.
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