Miami condo collapse news summary: 25 June 2021
Miami building collapse: breaking news
- Possible causes, the response from officials, and more on the crisis (full details)
- President Biden has sent in FEMA and provided funding to help those who lived in the building (full details)
What we know:
- Four casualties and 159 individuals still missing, according to the latest reports
- Exact location: the tragedy occurred at Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Miami-Dade (FL)
- Cause of the building's sudden collapse that happened early Thursday morning remains unclear
- First lawsuit seeking $5 million in damages filed against condominium association
- President Biden declares emergency in Miami after building collapse
Read more on the crisis:
"We have not lost hope"
Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo Ramirez has praised rescue teams' “admirable and humbling” efforts as the search for survivors of the Surfside building collapse continues. “We have not lost hope,” Ramirez added.
"You gotta have hope"
"We have hope because that's what our search-and-rescue team tells us, that they have hope," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told a news conference on Friday, as efforts to find survivors continued overnight in Surfside.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez said in an interview with CNN: "You gotta have hope. We're doing everything we can to bring your family member out alive."
Alvarez recalled that his team once pulled a girl out of earthquake debris in Haiti eight days into the rescue effort.
(Reuters contributed to this post; photo: Reuters/Octavio Jones)
Fire dept's warning for residents of surrounding area
Late on Friday, residents of the area surrounding the collapsed building in Surfside were being urged by Miami-Dade fire services to remain indoors with their doors and windows closed due to the smoky conditions.
The arm of an earth mover is seen as emergency crews continued search and rescue operations for survivors on Friday.
(Photo: REUTERS/Octavio Jones)
Florida Governor thanks first responders
Gov. Ron DeSantis confirms that the FL Division of Emergency Management continues to work around the clock to ensure all resources are available to aid search and rescue in Surfside. The Director, Kevin Guthrie is on-site and coordinating Florida’s response.
Any time that we hear a sound, we concentrate in that area.
It could be just steel twisting, it could be debris raining down, but not specifically sounds of tapping or sounds of a human voice.
Fires, wind and rain have hampered Miami rescue efforts
Rescue efforts Friday were hampered by fires that broke out in the pile of rubble where part of the 12-story condominium building in Surfside, just north of Miami, collapsed just the day before.
Rescue crews worked through the smoke trying to find victims still buried somewhere under the debris. Officials said 159 people are still missing.
Strong wind gusts and rain shows slowed the search and rescue process. Two cranes began removing debris from the pile of rubble, pausing at times so rescue crews could remove smaller pieces and listen for any sounds of survivors.
Full story from Jana Katsuyama.
Prayers for Australians caught in building collapse
The Australian Jewish community is sending prayers for the safe recovery of two Australians missing 48 hours after a Miami building collapse which has so far claimed officially claimed four lives.
Family of Tzvi and Itty Ainsworth have taken to social media to asking for the community’s “urgent prayers”.
“The building they were living in collapsed last night,” Melbourne-based niece Dina Feiglin White wrote on Facebook on Friday morning, sharing a photo of the couple. “They have not been retrieved from the rubble. Please pray. We are believers, the sons of believers. We need a miracle.”
Another niece, Israel-based musician Chanale Fellig-Harrel, told her Instagram followers on Friday night that the family still had received no news at all about the couple who split their time between Australia and Surfside, Miami.
“It’s a very difficult time for the Ainsworths and the Felligs and my parents and my aunts and uncles, all of us ... all of our hearts are bleeding,” she said.
Architectural analysis: opinion
Kobi Karp is the founder and principal of Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design, Inc (KKAID), in Miami, Fla. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely his.
"I was up before dawn as usual on Thursday to make coffee and watch the sun come up. I sat outside, opened my phone and saw the reports of a collapsed building on the 87th block of Collins Avenue in Surfside: Champlain Tower Condominiums.
"I was in high school in 1981, the year it was built. Its concrete piles, shear walls and columns with floors of horizontal concrete slabs represented what has been the gold standard of coastal construction for nearly 100 years. Those standards got tougher after Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, battered Florida in 1992. The state implemented new building codes with strict safety requirements that all new and existing structures had to meet.
"They were among the most stringent in the industry. And they worked."
DeSantis and Biden discuss Miami support plans
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden talked by phone Friday about assisting search-and-rescue efforts at the site of a collapsed condominium building in Miami-Dade County. DeSantis said he spoke with Biden about an hour before a 2 p.m. news conference in Surfside.
"He reiterated his administration's full support," DeSantis said. "They're all in, and so we really appreciate having the support of the president. And the people of Florida really appreciate the president and his administration stepping up to help people who are in need."
Biden earlier Friday approved federal assistance as crews continued working at the Champlain Towers complex and as dozens of people remained missing.
What are the possible causes of the Miami condo collapse?
Elizabeth Weise, national correspondent for USA Today, discusses potential reasons for the collapse of the condo building in Miami. The building itself wasn’t very old having been built in 1981 but perhaps the ground had settled underneath the building in a way that caused its collapse. However, from the video of the building falling it appears that the failure began on the top 2 or 3 floors of the central tower, when if the reason was the ground, it should have begun at ground level.
A forensic investigation of the accident will have to look into whether there was more saltwater in the ground or weight on the roof than the building was designed for. Such an investigation could take months or even years.
New Jersey rescue team ready to assist in Miami condo collapse
New Jersey’s Task Force One, the New Jersey State Police urban search and rescue squad stands at the ready along with other rescue teams across the US to aid in the recovery efforts taking place at the collapsed condo in Sunrise, Florida. The team consists of 240 volunteers from across New Jersey experienced in the ongoing efforts to find survivors in the remains of the collapsed building.
New Jersey woman confirmed as one of the four fatalities in Miami condo collapse
New 12 New Jersey reports that the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department confirms that 54-year-old Stacy Dawn Fang was killed when a seaside condominium tower collapsed in Sunrise, Florida on Thursday.
A family spokesperson released a statement on behalf of Fang’s son, Jonah Handler, saying, “There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie. The members of the Fang and Handler family would like to express our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy, compassion and support we have received. The many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much-needed source of strength during this devastating time.”
First lawsuit filed in Miami building collapse
A lawsuit filed on Thursday seeks $5 million in damages from the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association. The Brad Sohn Law Firm filed the suit on behalf of Manuel Drezner, who lives in a unit he owns in the building. The suit claims that maintenance issues were not properly addressed and that the collapse occurred “due to the inadequate protection of both the safety of residents and visitors to the building.”
How long will it take to know what caused the Surfside-Miami Condo Collapse?
Some reports say knowing the true cause of the condo collapse could take months. Federal and state teams are already investigating but right now, the priority is finding those who may be alive but trapped under the rubble.
Did anyone know that there was a chance the Surfside Condo could collapse?
An article from the Guardian shows that a report published in 2020 had warned that the condo that collapsed yesterday had been sinking into the ground since the early 1990s. This may be evidence that groundwater seeping into the foundation, weakening its ability to support the weight of the building.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she is receiving reports that at least two Chicagoans may have been killed in the Surfside Condo Collapse.
BREAKING: New reports show that as many as four Canadians may have been involved in the Surfside Condo Collapse.
Did residents believe there were issues with the building before it collapsed?
CBS reports that some of the residents of the building "say there were warning signs that something was wrong with the building." Before the 55 units came crashing down, some inside heard noises that made them wonder if something was wrong with the building's structure.
As Florida experiences a structural failure over the Surfside condo collapse, other local and state officials are detailing the processes for building inspections in their states.
Grief counselling hotline
Bilingual grief counseling now available to those who are victims or impacted by the Surfside condo collapse.
Conditions are truly catastrophic at the site of the Surfside condo collapse, as evidence by new CBS images.
We will continue search and rescue because we still have hope that we will find people alive
That is why we are using our dogs and our sonar and our cameras — everything possible to seek places where there may still be people to be found
A Miami area condo collapsed on 24 June, leaving hundreds without a home, and many officials and experts frantically searching for the cause.
Miami Herald has compiled a list of all those missing, with photos. Journalist and Author, Charles Fishman describe the article as "heart-rending" saying that this was not a building of "retirees."
Will there be a lawsuit after the Surfside condo collapse?
Newsnation reports that on Friday a class action lawsuit was filed against the "association responsible for maintaining the building." The suit argues that if they had done more to inspect the structural integrity of the building, this horrific disaster that has already claimed the lives of four people, "could have been prevented."
The plaintiffs involved in the case are seeking $5 million in damage. In a statement made by the lawyer leading the case, Brad Sohn, he said, "Our investigation continues, but we strongly believe this was preventable. A lawsuit is necessary to force all parties to preserve documents and records regarding this building and ensure a thorough investigation into this tragedy"
Read the full story here
Close friends and family are not "losing hope" after the sun sets for the second time over the Champlain condo complex in Surfside-Miami.
How old was the condo that collapsed in Surfside-Miami and when was it supposed to be inspected?
In the wake of the horrific condo collapse, some state lawmakers are already calling for the laws to change. One of the leaders is Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo told CNN that he believes Florida needs to improve its building code and ensure older structures like the Champlain towers are inspected more often."
In Florida, these types of buildings only need to be inspected every forty years to evaluate their structural integrity. The condo that collapsed had just reached the forty-year mark, meaning that an earlier inspection could have prevented the disaster.
LOCAL RESIDENTS: Lyft is providing rides for those impacted by the Surfside collapse to help reunite family members that may have been separated in the chaos.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis thanks emergency first responders for working around the clock to help identify more victims and treat those who suffered injuries.
Marco Rubio announces that the government is working to approve visas for foreign family members who have loved ones impacted by the Surfside building collapse. According to the Senator, dozens have been approved and some of the family members have already arrived in Miami.
Celebrities including Joe Jonas and Dolphins players Jaylen Waddle and Jerome Baker have visited the site of the collapse as well as hospitals to distribute food and water and try to support those impacted by the crisis.
Miami Building Collapse: What has President Biden said in response?
President Biden quickly sent in federal agencies including FEMA yesterday after a condominium building with over 100 units collapsed outside of Miami. The President has spoken with Gov. Ron DeSantis and affirmed his commitment to helping out until the crisis is over.
Read our full coverage for what the President has said and what actions he has taken to help those impacted.
Governor Ron DeSantis holds a press conference to inform the public on what facts are known about the Surfside building collapse that took place early on Thursday morning.
Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that they are "looking into reports that Canadians are affected by the building collapse." This comes as other outlets are reporting that citizens of a few other countries including Paraguay may have been present when the building fell,
Looking for a place to donate to those impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse? United Way Miami is taking donations.
The President expressed his gratitude for the heroic first responders and search and rescue teams who are working tirelessly and whose bravery and courage have saved lives. The President also expressed his condolences to the Governor and the people of the Surfside community, sharing his grief for the families who lost loved ones in this devastating tragedy and for the families who are waiting in anguish as search and rescue efforts continue.
New reporting from NBC News shows that the building collapse could, at least in part, be related to climate change. An analysis recently undertaken "found that the area had moved slightly each year through the 1990s, according to a study published in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management in April 2020."
This sort of movement can increase the risk of "greater flooding and hazards for local communities."
President Biden receives praise from fellow Democrats over his swift action to help the victims of the condo collapse in Surfside
The first victim in the building collapse identified as Stacie Dawn Fang, 54. The mother of a teenage daughter, her family has asked that the public respect their privacy at this time.
Full Statement from the Family:
“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie. The members of the Fang and Handler family would like to express our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy, compassion and support we have received. The many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much needed source of strength during this devastating time. On behalf of Stacie’s son, Jonah, we ask you now to please respect our privacy to grieve and to try to help each other heal.”
Miami Herald reporter, Mary Ellen Klas tweets that President Biden will support families to cover the cost of housing and funeral services for those impacted by the horrifying condo collapse in Surfside, Florida.
After a call with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the President told the press that his administration had "sent the best people from FEMA down there." The President said he is committed to having federal assistance present until the disaster is over.
Miami Building Collapse: possible causes of the condo disaster, victims, and response from officials
As more details emerge our team took a look at the state of the investigation into what could have caused the condos to collapse. Of the 136 units, 55 collapsed. Just over a hundred residents are accounted for with 159 still missing.
Read our full coverage for more details.
Miami rallies to help Surfside victims
Local NBA team Miami Heat, the Miami Heat Charitable Fund, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Miami Foundation are working together to build a hardship fund for those impacted by the Surfside building collapse launching a fund to help victims of the disaster.
Donations can be made via Support Surfside.Org
Over 125 firefighters conducting search
Augmented with sniffer dogs, crews of firefighters continue to search for noises and sounds amid the rubble that offer glimmers of hope that survivors may still be alive below the rubble
Biden speaks about Surfside tragedy
The US President delivered a brief speech and offered his sympathy to the victims of the Miami tragedy.
First Surfside victim identified
54-year-old Stacie Fang died at a local Miami hospital from blunt force injuries due to the building collapse, the medical examiner's office told local media.
Paraguay first lady in Florida amid search for sister missing in condo collapse
Paraguay's first lady Silvana López Moreira traveled to Florida to accompany her family amid an ongoing search for her sister, who is missing after a condo building collapsed in a Miami suburb, a spokeswoman for her office said on Friday.
The South American country's foreign ministry said Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill and her three young children were among six Paraguayans missing since Thursday after the partial collapse of the 12-story building.
Rescue workers on Friday were scouring the debris after hearing sounds in the rubble overnight, as officials raised the number of people unaccounted for to 159 and the confirmed death toll to four.
"She traveled to Miami and is there accompanying her parents," a spokeswoman for her office told Reuters. The spokeswoman declined to comment further on the situation.
President Mario Abdo suspended official activities on Thursday and Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo said consulate personnel were visiting hospitals and talking with local authorities to obtain more information on the missing persons.
The first lady's family owned an apartment at the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida, local press reported. Federico López Moreira, Silvana and Sophia's cousin, told an Asuncion radio station that the family probably traveled to get vaccinated against covid.
Paraguayan president waiting for news of family members
Paraguay’s foreign ministry announced 6 of their nationals, including the President's Mario Abdo Benítez' sister-in-law, are missing following the Surfside building collapse.
10 being treated for injures
120 people have been accounted for and, according to Mayor Charles Burkett of Surfside, Florida, at least 10 people are being treated for injuries.
Investigation to be carried out
The Miami-Dade Police Department is expected to conduct a full investigation once the search and rescue has been concluded.
80 out of 130 units occupied at Champlain Towers South complex
The Champlain Towers South had more than 130 units, about 80 of which were occupied. It had been subject to various inspections recently due to the recertification process and the adjacent building construction, Surfside Commissioner Charles Kesl told Local 10 news.
Cause of building collapse remains unknown
What caused the 40-year-old high-rise to tumble into a heap in a matter of seconds was not immediately known, though local officials said the 12-story tower was undergoing roof construction and other repairs.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters that many are still missing after the collapse, though some may not have been in the building at the time.
Rescue crews continue search
Rescue crews picked through tons of rubble on Friday looking for survivors after the collapse of part of the oceanfront apartment tower in Surfside near Miami.
Search teams detected sounds of banging and other noises but no voices coming from the mounds of debris hours after a large section of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, a barrier island town across Biscayne Bay from the city, crumbled to the ground, authorities said.
President Biden approves Florida emergency declaration after building collapse
President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration in the state of Florida and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts after a building collapse near Miami left four dead and nearly 150 missing.
"The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts," the White House said on Friday.
Rescue work continues in Miami
Rescue workers frantically scoured the rubble of a collapsed apartment block in a Miami suburb for signs of life on Friday, after the oceanfront condo dramatically crumpled in a matter of seconds leaving four people dead and 159 unaccounted for. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that the number people missing had risen from the initial 99, and that three more bodies were pulled from the wreckage overnight.
Another person was reported to have died on Thursday.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage as we bring you the latest news relating to the building collapse in Miami.