Surfside Building Partially Collapses, One Dead, Many are Missing
by Yehudit Garmaise
Witnesses said it sounded like thunder, a freight train, or an earthquake when a building at the Champlain Towers at 8777 Collins Avenue in Surfside, Fla., collapsed this morning and killed at least one person.
One person has died, nine are confirmed injured, and firefighters have evacuated 35 residents, who are currently housed at a local community center, where kids came in their pajamas, and people arrived without shoes on, as they were rushed out so quickly out of the building that many fear will soon collapse completely.
“Floors that had 15 feet between them have ‘pancaked,’ [in the collapse] and have very little room between them,” one reporter said. “The roofs came in.”
Fifty-five apartments of the 136-unit building, which is home to many Orthodox Jews, were destroyed, said Chief Raide Jadallah, Chief Fire Chief of Operations, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, who told reporters that he still does not know how many people are missing.
“We don’t have the total,” Jadallah said. “We haven’t established that.”
While lightning flashes and rain pours down, hundreds of firefighters, who are using heavy machinery to tunnel through the wreckage to find people who are trapped in the from the collapse, have pulled out 10 victims so far, and a massive search and rescue effort is underway, although there is yet no way to know how many people are missing.
At least 70 tenants of the building are among the missing.
Witnesses said that the partially collapsed building, which is on 88th Street and Collins Avenue, had been under construction for 30 days.
Perhaps the building could not hold a gigantic crane and other heavy machinery that was on top of the building, said one eyewitness who heard “a huge rumbling noise” and who explained that the collapse started in the parking garage.
Readers can call (305) 993-1071, which is the Surfside Emergency Information line, and (305) 614-1819 is the Family Reunification Line.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who is the current frontrunner in the Democratic mayoral primary, just tweeted his prayers, support, and empathy.
"I am thinking of the Surfside community during this tragic time. My thoughts, and the thoughts of New York City, are with you today, and I’m praying for the safety of residents, victims, first responders, and their loved ones," Adams wrote.
Rabbi Mark Rosenberg, of Chesed Shel Emes and Hatzalah of South Florida, and have asked readers to say Tehillim, chapters 20 and 119 for the tenants who remain missing. So far, the names of those who have not yet been found are:
Chaim ben Sara
Nancy Kress Levin
Ilan and his mother Karen, whose last names are unknown
Moshe ben Toba
Moshe ben Shoshana
Arie Leib ben Ita
Lein ben Ilana
Leibel ben Feige Rivka
Ruth bat Sarah
Chiam ben Sara
Yisroel Tzvi Yosef ben Toiba
Tzvi Doniel ben Yehudis
Ita bas Miriam
Malka bas Sara Rochel