At least one person
was killed and one boy was pulled to safety after a
high-rise condominium building partially collapsed early
Thursday near Miami Beach.
A massive search and
rescue effort was underway following the incident at the
12-story building in Surfside, a town in Florida's
In addition to the fatality, which was confirmed by
Miami-Dade Police, at least 10 people were being treated for
injuries at the scene, according to Surfside Mayor Charles
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center said it received three
patients, including two in critical condition.
“It’s hard to imagine how this could happen,” Burkett told
NBC's "TODAY" show. “Buildings just don’t fall down.”
He said that the
building had roof work going on, "but you would never expect
that to be the issue. I think that this is a catastrophic
failure of that building."
"I mean it looks like a bomb went off, but we're pretty sure
a bomb didn't go off," Burkett added.
Though authorities have not released exact numbers, the
mayor said there were "quite a few" people in the building
at the time of the collapse. Some were able to make their
way to the front of the structure as the back collapsed.
The Red Cross was working to get people from 15 units set up
at hotels after they escaped from the building on their own,
Search dogs weren't finding any survivors, which is "a great
disappointment," he said.
"When the building came down, it pancaked," Burkett said.
"So there's just not a lot of voids that they're finding, or
seeing from the outside. That's a tragedy."
The whole building is about 100 units, and a third of it
collapsed, Burkett added.
"There's just feet in between stories," he later added.
Footage from the scene showed a large section of the
multistory building collapse into a pile of rubble below.
NBC Miami aired video of a boy being pulled out of the
rubble alive and being placed on a stretcher.
"The Miami-Dade Fire Department has been awesome," Burkett
said. "They've gotten in there and they're in there risking
their lives. I mean we don't know if the rest of that
building's gonna come down."
Emergency crews were going from balcony to balcony with a
fire ladder on the side of the building that was left
standing, seemingly looking for people who might be trapped.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue was on the scene of the incident near
88th Street and Collins Avenue with more than 80 fire rescue
units involved in the response, the agency said.
That included a Technical Rescue Team that is trained in the
removal of victims trapped in complex or confined spaces,
fire officials said.
Municipal fire departments and Miami Beach police were also
"It's a very active scene, I advise everyone to just stay
out of the area so that fire rescue and officers can conduct
rescues and do what we need to do," Surfside Police Sgt.
Marian Cruz said, according to NBC Miami.
Records showed the condo, called Champlain Towers South, was
built in 1981. It is located across from a sandy beach in
the oceanfront community of about 6,000 people.
Police blocked nearby roads and traffic in the area was
diverted early Thursday. Burkett said that 50 hotel rooms
next to the condo were also evacuated.