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  • Writer's pictureEd Gaines

Condo Collapse: 4 Dead and 159 People Still Unaccounted for

An intense search and rescue effort continued overnight after part of a 12-story residential building collapsed yesterday in Surfside, Florida.

The collapse killed at least four and has left almost 159 people unaccounted for.

About 55 of the 136 units at Champlain Towers South collapsed.

Two people have been pulled from the rubble.

Rescuers helped a boy from the debris alive, a witness said, and video showed responders helping others leave the standing portions of the building.

A State Fire Marshal said emergency workers heard sounds coming from the rubble yesterday afternoon. One of the sounds is from an individual in the parking garage area that they are having difficulty getting to.

Teams have been using search dogs, sonar and cameras to help locate possible survivors.

Surveillance video shows the collapse. A huge section of the building fell first, followed by another portion about nine seconds later.

One resident on the third floor said he heard what he thought sounded like an explosion. His apartment was intact, but when he opened his door and tried to leave, he "looked down the hallway ... and there was nothing there.”

The cause of the collapse wasn't immediately known. The building was undergoing roof work. Work was being done to meet "40-year standards”, which is a strengthening of the building code enacted following Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Professor: the Collapsed Condo Building was Sinking Since 1990s

The 12-story building that collapsed in South Florida was built in 1981.

The building was constructed on reclaimed wetlands, and scientists discovered in 2020 that it has been sinking since the 1990s.

It’s too early to tell if this could be a factor in the collapse, but a professor from Florida International University found that it was sinking roughly 2 millimeters a year.

A resident who escaped with his wife says he noticed cracks in pavers on the pool deck years ago and raised concerns that nearby construction was causing them.

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