Overnight, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department announced they were on the scene of a partial building collapse in the town of Surfside. At the time, more than 80 units were confirmed to be on the scene, including help from municipal fire agencies. Thursday morning, the Miami-Dade Police Department said it had assumed the investigation into the collapse and could confirm one fatality.
“We are working together with [the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department] and other agencies as they continue their search and rescue mission,” a police rep said on Twitter.
“The fire department knocked on the door and said we need to evacuate so we just got our stuff together and left,” one resident of the building told the Associated Press when detailing the partial collapse. “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. And then what happened was, when the dust cleared, the back half of the building or the back two-thirds of the building was gone. It’s down to the ground.”
According to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, approximately 10 people were initially treated at the scene of the collapse, with two of them—one of whom later died—having been taken to the hospital. Burkett also said that about 15 families were able to exit the building without assistance.
“The problem is the building is literally pancaked. … That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we’re gonna be successful, as successful as we want to be, to find people alive,” Burkett said, per a regional CBS outlet, adding that rescue crews were on the site as of Thursday morning and were continuing their efforts.
At the time of this writing, authorities had not disclosed what may have been responsible for the collapse of the building, which AP noted was built in 1981.