(MIAMI) — At least one person is dead and several others are injured after a multi-story building partially collapsed in southern Florida’s Miami-Dade County early Thursday morning, authorities said.
The residential building is located in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach. A massive search and rescue operation was underway before dawn, as crews carefully checked the wreckage and remaining structure for survivors. Footage from the scene showed firefighters pulling a boy from the rubble alive and rescuing other people from still-standing balconies.
Witnesses told Miami ABC affiliate WPLG-TV that more people are still trapped inside the building.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told reporters that at least 10 people were treated for injuries on site. Two of them were then transported to a local hospital, where one died, according to Burkett. Both the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Miami-Dade Police Department also confirmed there was at least one fatality as a result of the building collapse.
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, about 8 miles northwest of Surfside, has received three patients from the scene so far. Two have critical injuries while the third is in fair condition, a hospital spokesperson told ABC News.
The condominium, which was built in the 1980s, has over 100 apartment units and was believed to be substantially full when a third of it collapsed in the early morning hours, according to Burkett. The building was undergoing roof work, the mayor said.
Some 15 families walked out of the building alive on their own and were put up in a local hotel, according to Burkett. Search dogs did an initial pass around the wreckage when it was still dark but there were no signs of survivors at that time, the mayor said.
The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said it has sent more than 80 units to the scene. Meanwhile, multiple police and fire departments from across Miami-Dade County have been deployed to assist, according to the Miami Beach Police Department.
One witness told ABC News that his wife cares for an elderly woman who lives in the condominium and frantically called him around 1:15 a.m. local time, after the units next door came crashing down. He said his wife and the elderly woman were both rescued.
People in neighboring buildings have been evacuated to a nearby recreational center, another witness told ABC News.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava took to Twitter to express her gratitude for the first responders on scene of “this horrific tragedy.”
“May they stay safe while working to save lives,” Levine Cava said.
The cause of the partial collapse was unknown. The Miami-Dade Police Department said it is investigating the incident.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.