UPDATE: Building collapse in Florida, people trapped

At least one person died when one side of the building came crumbling down.

SURFSIDE, Fla. (ABC) — The number of missing people has risen dramatically following the collapse of a Miami condominium.

Miami-Dade Police Dept. Dir. Alfredo Ramirez says that 99 people are unaccounted for, and 53 others have now been accounted for, cautioning that these numbers could change. At least three people have been killed.

“Fire Rescue is in there with their search team, with their dogs. It’s a very dangerous site right now,” said Ramirez. “I’m not a fireman, but I know from listening to briefings that it is very unstable, very dangerous. And those firemen are very brave to go in that role and they are doing everything they can. They’re in search and rescue mode and they’ll be in that mode for a while.  They’re not quitting.”

It happened at the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside.

A small fire broke out at the scene Thursday afternoon, but firefighters appeared to be getting it under control shortly before 2 pm.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed that the 12-story building that was built in 1981 houses more than 130 units. She said 55 of the units collapsed.

“It’s a very tragic situation for those families, and for our community. We are all suffering together. We’re all here standing by them and we’re working very hard.”


SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — A beachfront condo tower has partially collapsed in the Miami-area town of Surfside.

Scores of fire and rescue teams rushed to the area early Thursday as part of a massive search and operation. Authorities had no word yet on casualties or details of how many people lived in the building. Officials haven’t yet said what may have caused the collapse. Photos and video from the scene show the collapse affected half the tower.

The collapse sent a cloud of debris through the neighborhood, coating cars up to two blocks away with a light layer of dust. Piles of rubble and debris surrounded the area just outside the building.

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