At least 156 missing after partial building collapse near Miami

By Fernando Alfonso III, Maureen Chowdhury, Zamira Rahim and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Updated 7:03 a.m. ET, June 27, 2021
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6:17 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Structural engineering company that inspected building in 2018 says it 'detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete' and gave estimate for 'extensive and necessary repairs'

From CNN's Rosa Flores in Surfside, Florida, and Hollie Silverman in Atlanta

Morabito Consultants, a structural engineering firm, said in a statement issued Saturday afternoon it completed a report in 2018 that "detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete" at Champlain Towers South and provided an estimate of costs to "make the extensive and necessary repairs."

CNN previously reported that the report noted major structural damage. 

Champlain Towers South Condominium Association hired the firm again in June 2020 to prepare a building repair plan for the 40-year recertification, according to the statement.

Morabito Consultants provides only engineering consulting services, not repair or restoration contracting, the statement said.

"We are deeply troubled by this building collapse and are working closely with the investigating authorities to understand why the structure failed. As we do so, we also continue to pray for all those impacted by this tragic event," the firm said in the statement.

Morabito Consultants has nearly four decades of experience providing services for building structures, including high-rises, residential and commercial buildings, as well as educational and health care facilities, according to the statement.

5:26 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

A father who was in the hotel next to the collapsed condo says he thought they were in a tornado, his kids are still shaken

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Daniel Groves was on vacation with his family in Surfside, staying on the second floor of a hotel next to the Champlain Towers when the collapse happened.

The family was "dead asleep" when the collapse occurred around 1:20 a.m., he said.

"It literally sounded like a bomb going off, like it was the loudest thing I've ever heard in my life," Groves told CNN. "The whole building shook. I mean, I felt like we were in the worst earthquake in my life."

"It shook very violently," he added.

Groves said he opened the curtains of his hotel room and couldn't see past more than four to five feet, but noticed a big crack in the glass where debris had hit. He said he thought they were in a tornado and began yelling at his wife to get up just as alarms began to sound in the building.

He and his wife grabbed their children, ages 3 and 7, leaving all their belongings behind and ran a few blocks away. Groves then took a video of the immediate aftermath of the collapse, still unsure of what had happened. The video shows the pile of rubble and debris littering the area. 

"The scariest thing. I thought a tornado literally just hit and they just said no, the building is gone," he is heard saying in the video.

He and his family have since gone to Disney to try to "get a little joy" following the tragedy.

"It's not real good. My kids are really shook," Groves said. "Toilet flushes, my kids are screaming. ... A bell on the elevator dings, my kids hold their ears. I don't know what the long-term effects are going to be."

4:53 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Escambia County is deploying THOR, a mobile command center, to help in rescue efforts

From CNN's Kay Jones

Courtesy Escambia County/Facebook
Courtesy Escambia County/Facebook

An emergency mobile command center from Florida's Escambia County is being deployed to aid in the recovery and rescue efforts of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse.

The command center, known as THOR, is scheduled to leave Sunday morning at the request of the state, the county's emergency management team said in a news release Saturday afternoon. An emergency management employee will also be deployed with THOR for 10 days.

The mobile command post offers 1,000 square feet of working space, according to the news release. It has a 44-kilowatt generator with 72 hours of fuel on board as well as dual air conditioning units. 

"The situation in which we have to use this resource is very unfortunate," Eric Gilmore, Escambia County's interim public safety director, said in a statement. "We are proud to assist our partners in any way we can."

Escambia County is in northwest Florida, on the border with Alabama.

4:26 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

The daughter of a woman missing in the collapse says her mother had concerns about work being done on other buildings

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Magaly "Maggie" Ramsey told CNN's Wolf Blitzer her mother Magaly Delgado, who is among the missing in the Champlain Towers South condo collapse, had raised concerns about work being done on other buildings having possible impacts on her building.

Ramsey said her mother didn't really complain about her building but had raised concerns about ongoing assessments as well as tremors from the construction of a new building nearby.

"I will say that when the other building beside it, which is relatively new, was being built she did complain of a lot of tremors and things that were being done to the other building that she sometimes was concerned what may be happening to her building that might be putting it at risk as a result," Ramsey explained.

Delgado came from Cuba and made her way to "live her best life" by the water in the Champlain Towers, where she had lived on the ninth floor for more than 10 years, according to Ramsey.

"She loved the building, she loved the community," she said.

The last time Ramsey spoke to her mother was about a surgery Ramsey had recently had. She missed her call Wednesday night and thought she would just give her a call back in the morning, but she never got the opportunity, she told CNN.

Ramsey said she learned of the collapse on the news.

"Other than this horrible thing going on right now, the worst thing is not to know," she said. "Knowing, whatever the outcome may be, you hope that they didn't suffer if something did occur. But knowing is a little bit healing in itself."

2:08 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Tributes continue near the condo building site as loved ones wait for news

From CNN's Faith Karimi 

As scores of family members wait to hear about their missing loved ones following the partial building collapse in Surfside, supporters continue to gather around the site to help any way they can.

Here's a look at those efforts:

2:01 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Here's how you can help Surfside building collapse victims

From CNN's Ashley Vaughan

Photos of missing residents are posted at a makeshift memorial on June 26.
Photos of missing residents are posted at a makeshift memorial on June 26. Andrea Sarcos/AFP/Getty Images

Rescue workers are digging through rubble and debris looking for signs of life after Thursday morning's building collapse in the town of Surfside, just north of Miami, Florida.

Around 1:30 a.m., an estimated 55 condominiums fell to the ground, most of them with residents asleep inside.

As families wait in agony for updates on missing loved ones, there are ways you can ensure they don't face this situation alone. Organizations are on the ground to help.

Here is how you can support them, even from miles away. To donate to some of the organizations featured, click here:

  • The American Red Cross is helping displaced residents find safe places. The group is also offering emotional and spiritual support to the survivors. To donate click here.
  • ATJC Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center is collecting donations for individuals and families impacted by the collapse. The organization is asking for urgent items including sheets, pillows, phone chargers, and snack food.
  • Direct Relief has teamed up with the NBA's Miami Heat to collect donations helping provide healthcare for survivors and equipment for first responders.
  • Greater Miami Jewish Federation is accepting donations to help provide spiritual support and crisis counseling.
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is responding to the crisis. To report missing loved ones, call 305-614-1819. You can also file an online missing persons report. Residents who live within the partially collapsed tower are asked to fill out this wellness check form. For free bilingual emotional support, call 833-848-1762.
  • World Central Kitchen is serving hot meals to the Surfside community to make sure displaced residents and rescue crews are fed as they face the unexpected.

CNN's Impact Your World Team will continue to provide ways to support as opportunities become available.

2:54 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Daughter of missing parents calls the tragedy at Surfside "horrific and bizarre"

From CNN's David Williams

Betty and Gil Guerra
Betty and Gil Guerra Courtesy Michelle Guerra

Gil Guerra and his wife Betty Guerra lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside, Florida, condominium building that partially collapsed on Thursday, his daughter told CNN.

Michelle Guerra said that they haven’t gotten any word on her dad and stepmom since the collapse.

“We’re doing our best to stay hopeful. That’s what they would want,” she said over Facebook Messenger on Saturday. “This is all so horrific and bizarre. They are both such caring, hardworking people. They only got married late 2017 and have been living it up like two teenagers in love, traveling the world and eating all they can together. They lived a full time together," she said.

Guerra said they were in the process of moving out of their home and had just gotten furniture at their new apartment on Monday.

The couple were renting and she said the owner was in the process of selling the unit.

Guerra said she last spoke to her dad on Father’s Day and saw him in person on May 16 at her nephew’s first birthday party. 

2:07 p.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Son of missing woman: "I just want my mom back"

Judy Spiegel.
Judy Spiegel. Courtesy Spiegel Family

Josh Spiegel, whose mother Judy Spiegel is missing, said his family is "just trying to keep it together" as they wait for rescue updates from the Surfside building collapse.

"As a doctor, I've taken care of a lot of burn patients and trauma patients, and this is not good. And I'm scared to death. I just want my mom back. And we're praying as much as possible. We just want more people to help. So, if there's anyone else that can help, that's all that we want. We love my mom. She's the most amazing person in the world. We would literally do anything because we know that she would do anything for us," Josh Spiegel told CNN.

Rachel Spiegel, daughter of Judy Spiegel, said that she is "very concerned."

She described her mother as "the best person in the world. She's so caring and loving. She loves my kids."

Rachel Spiegel said that one of her daughters offered to help find her grandma, because "she's really good at playing hide and seek, so she's probably hiding in her house. Can I go there with you? I know where she hides."

Judy Spiegel's husband was not in the building at the time of the collapse.

"My heart breaks for my dad, but at the same time, I'm just so thankful that he wasn't there, too. You know, obviously, the thought of losing my mom, who is my rock and my best friend and everything is the most awful thing, but I don't really know if I would be standing if I lost two," Rachel Spiegel said.

"I've never seen so much pain in all my family's eyes, and my heart is shattered," Josh Spiegel said.

The family is asking for as much help as possible as they continue to await to hear news about Judy Spiegel.

11:03 a.m. ET, June 26, 2021

Miami-Dade mayor says the fire at rescue site is hampering search efforts

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. CNN

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that rescue crews are continuing to face "incredible difficulties" due to an ongoing fire under the rubble.

"It's a very deep fire. It's extremely difficult to locate the source of the fire. So, they've been working around the clock, these fire rescue teams, these brave men and women, under the rubble to fix this problem so they can get on, but it is hampering our search efforts," Cava said during a news conference.

Cava detailed that the smoke from the fire "spread laterally throughout the pile" making it difficult to isolate the source and stop it.

The mayor also noted that rescue teams have created a trench to try and isolate the fire and continue to search for victims.

"We're using everything possible to address this fire. We are using infrared technology. We're using foam. We're using water. All the tactics that we can to contain the fire and minimize the smoke spread," Cava said.

Cava added: "Obviously, the smoke itself is the biggest barrier right now to proceeding in those areas. So, we created a trench using heavy equipment to try to isolate the fire and continue searching for victims in the part of the pile that we can access. No further victims have been found."