WATCH CONTINUING COVERAGE LIVE: Heroes remain hard at work a day after building collapse in Surfside

A day after a partial building collapse in Miami-Dade County’s town of Surfside, some of the relatives of the residents who were unaccounted for feared the worst.

A crowd watched in horror as a search-and-rescue team pulled a victim’s body out of the rubble. The weather was not cooperating early Friday morning. There was lightning.

A day after a partial building collapse in Miami-Dade County’s town of Surfside, some of the relatives of the residents who were unaccounted for feared the worst.

Paramedic Maggie Castro, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said structural engineers were at the site checking on the stability of what is left of the Chaplain Towers South.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on Thursday, the northeastern section of the L-shaped building collapsed at 8777 Collins Ave. The walls crumbled and there was a pancake effect with a part of the building’s roof and the apartments’ ceilings.

A Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team sprays water onto the rubble as rescue efforts continue where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed, late on Thursday, June 24, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert/)

It was dark, cloudy and windy. A fog of dust rose from the concrete.

Some of the residents of the 12-story building held flashlights and screamed for help. Fire Rescue personnel had to evacuate the southern section and search for survivors in the northern area.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said there were 99 people unaccounted for and 102 survivors. There were three people who were confirmed dead.

Fire Rescue personnel assist a Surfside resident after a partial building collapse on Thursday.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Ray Jadallah said search-and-rescue teams of 10 to 12 were tunneling through the debris listening for signs of life.

“All operations are occurring underneath the rubble,” Jadallah said. “They continue making cuts, britches and placing sonar devices, search cams to locate victims.”

A frontend loader shifts rubble mixed with furniture and household items, as rescue efforts continue where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed, late on Thursday, June 24, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert/)

State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said the pancake effect made the pile of rubble wider on one side, so this is where the search-and-rescue teams accessed the area.

“But when you are entering the building through that wider end, it’s also up against the building that’s standing, you have that delicate balance of trying to make a way in safely,” Patronis said.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said there was ongoing roof work in the building, which was in the process of recertification. A concrete restoration project was also in the works.

A family reunification center has been set up for anyone looking for unaccounted or missing relatives at a community center at 9301 Collins Ave.

Those searching for their loved ones or to report that they have been located are asked to call 305-614-1819. An emergency information hotline has also been created — 305-993-1071.

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