Normally, news about a multistory building collapsing is reported in the context of a tragic earthquake or a far-flung country with dubious building codes, not in a major cosmopolitan city.
But now, the race is on, just north of Miami Beach for heroic rescuers to help locate more than 100 people still unaccounted for in the collapse. Dozens have been pulled alive from the wreckage already, and hope is still being held up that others will be rescued, but this is a race against time in a dangerous and unstable scene.
At the time of this writing, here is the most current update about what we know of the people who are rescued, missing, or tragically, declared fatalities of this incident.
There are now 159 people unaccounted for in the partial building collapse in Surfside, Fla., Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday — a rise from 99 people a day earlier.
Three more deceased people were found in the rubble, bringing the number of fatalities so far to four.
“We will continue search and rescue because we still have hope that we will find people alive,” Cava said at a press conference Friday. “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.”
The number of people who already have been accounted for stands at 120, up from 102 —NPR
As bad as it looks, there is still a message of hope:
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 24, 2021
While we don’t yet have any official answers why a 12-story condo building collapsed, (a working theory will be offered further down) we are now reacting to the consequences of the building’s failure itself. Security footage in a nearby building captured the tragic moments as they happened.
It was the partial collapse of a 12 story building comprised of 136 units. The northeast part of the building came down, meaning about 55 apartments came down in the wreckage. As of this writing, we are aware of 4 confirmed fatalities.
Here’s drone footage of the aftermath, and the enormous number of emergency vehicles on scene.
Miami-Dade Mayor says emergency orders from herself and Gov. DeSantis are moving forward and that President Biden has pledged federal support from FEMA in condo collapse.
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) June 24, 2021
Desantis has declared a state of emergency in response to the disaster, while rescue efforts are ongoing.
#BREAKING: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares an emergency in Miami-Dade County following the #Surfside condo building collapse. Complex search and rescue operation ongoing. #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/AksvDYQUJc
— BREAKING NEWS (@Breaking_4_News) June 24, 2021
Joe Biden, to his credit, was offering Washington’s help, if needed. Here he is doing so right after Kamala jumped in to remind him he needed to return to the podium and mention this issue. That emergency declaration has now been made.
Biden says he's waiting for Florida Gov. DeSantis to declare an emergency for federal resources to respond to the Miami Beach condo collapse, which has left dozens of people unaccounted for
"To the people of Florida — whatever help you want, the federal government can provide" pic.twitter.com/bo3Y8zjA5N
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 24, 2021
Is there any doubt how CNN and WaPo would have spun that faux pas had it been Trump or Dubya that needed such reminding from a Veep? Calls for invoking the 25th Amendment would have overshadowed the tragedy itself.
As for why the building collapsed? A study may offer a meaningful clue.
We stress that this is not even offered as a definitive cause by the people writing about this, only that there was a pre-existing red flag.
The building, which was constructed in 1981, has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s, according to a study in 2020 by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment.
When Wdowinski saw the news that the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside collapsed, he instantly remembered it from the study, he said.
“I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,” he said. — USAToday
There are a lot of questions still going unanswered.
One more thing worth bringing to all of those people clamoring for the removal of tax-exempt status for the churches…? You probably don’t see this story being reported on your evening news.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) is ready to offer emotional and spiritual care after a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo collapsed in the Surfside area of Miami, Florida, early Thursday. At least four people were killed and dozens are missing.
Chaplains will help minister to survivors and the shocked community as a whole.
…“Our crisis-trained chaplains are available to listen, and we want all of those who were impacted—including the first responders who are part of the search-and-rescue efforts—to know that God still loves them and cares about them, even in the midst of such pain and sadness.” —BillyGraham