The latest on the partial building collapse near Miami

By Melissa Mahtani, Adrienne Vogt, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 11:21 a.m. ET, June 30, 2021
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9:18 a.m. ET, June 29, 2021

Surfside mayor says there is some concern about falling debris in search and rescue effort

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett. Source: CNN

Surfside, Florida, Mayor Charles Burkett said there are “waves of men and women” involved in the search and rescue effort of the collapsed building. 

“I was told there’s about 100 people on the pile right now, with hundreds waiting standing by to get up there as those men and women tire out. So, I'm not too concerned about the manpower issue. I just want to be able to keep working,” he said. 

Burkett also said there is now concern about some falling debris at the site. 

“Overnight, they did have some stuff falling down from the building that's still standing. And that's going to have to be addressed. I understand from my discussions over the past few days that they will address that, they will have to pick those pieces off, tie them to the crane, cut the steel, and remove them so it's safe for the workers to get down in there,” he said.

Burkett said he cannot comment right now on any additional victims found out of respect for the families but will give an update later in the morning. 

9:18 a.m. ET, June 29, 2021

2021 letter details decay at Champlain Towers South

A 2021 correspondence from Champlain Towers South Board President Jean Wodnicki addressed to neighbors describes the progression of decay at the building since the 2018 Morabito structural survey report saying, “…the observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse since the initial inspection.”

The letter was obtained by CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront.

The letter received by a Champlain Towers South resident on April 9 of this year continues: “The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse, so extensive roof repairs had to be incorporated.”

Wodnicki further describes issues facing the building saying, “When you can visually see the concrete spalling (cracking), that means that the rebar holding it together is rusting and deteriorating beneath the surface. 

The Structural Field survey performed in 2018 by Morabito Consultants Inc., found several things including major structural damage below the pool deck, according to the report. 

“The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas,” states the report. 

In a statement to CNN, Morabito Consultants wrote that the report "detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete.”

The report didn't say whether the structure was at risk of collapse, but the group said it provided an estimate to the condo association to "make the extensive and necessary repairs."

The April, 2021 letter seeks to explain a $15 million special assessment dollar price tag to condo owners that would be discussed at an upcoming meeting, saying that the initial scope of the 2018 work estimates have now expanded.

“Other previously identified projects have been rolled under the main project. New problems have been identified. Also, costs go up every year. This is how we have gone from the estimated $9,128,433.60 cited in Morabito’s 2018 report, to the much larger figure we have today.” 

 The buildings board later approved the $15 million dollar in repairs according to an assessment letter obtained by CNN. 

CNN has reached out to representatives of Champlain Towers South Condominium Association for further comment.

CNN's John Berman reports:

9:17 a.m. ET, June 29, 2021

Surfside condo collapse investigation could take months, structural engineer says

From CNN's Hollie Silverman, Deanna Hackney and Jamiel Lynch

Sinisa Kolar.
Sinisa Kolar. Source: CNN

While there are no clear answers on the cause of the deadly Florida condo collapse, early signs point to some failure in the lower reaches of the 13-story building, perhaps in its foundation, columns or underground parking garage, according to experts.

At least 11 people have died in the Champlain Towers Collapse, and 150 remain missing following the tragedy. More than 136 people have been accounted for, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. The deceased victims range in age from 26 to 82.

Forensic engineers will need to examine the ground-floor columns in their investigation, Sinisa Kolar, a Miami-based engineering executive, told CNN.

He explained that samples of concrete will need to be tested to examine the condition and then those samples will need to be cross-referenced with structural drawings.

"The key element to this investigation, in my opinion, lies in that rubble, in those columns and condition of the structural elements," Kolar said.

The investigation could take months or longer, according to Allyn Kilsheimer, the structural engineer hired by the town of Surfside. He has started to examine the building and will use a meticulous, computer-assisted process of elimination to attempt to identify the cause or causes, he said.

"Unless it's a plane or a bomb that you know triggered this whole thing, sometimes you can't get it down to one cause," he said. "You don't know what you're going to end up with until you finish the whole study."

A pool contractor who was servicing the condo pool 36 hours before its collapse told the Miami Herald he had seen standing water and cracks in concrete underneath the pool deck. He noted that it was not the area under the collapse site.

When he first entered the building, the pool area and upper lobby looked fine, but when he walked into the basement garage under the pool deck, he claims he saw lots of standing water and claims to have found cracks in the concrete in the pool equipment room, according to Miami Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey.

"He took a picture of that concrete to send to his boss, because he was there to do a little bit of cosmetic stuff to the pool, but he thought, 'Wow, this is going to be a bigger job,' took a picture, sent it to his boss," Blaskey told CNN. 

While families grieve and hope and officials investigate, the mayor of Surfside said the primary focus is to get victims out of the debris. 

"The number one priority here is pulling these people out of the rubble and we're going to focus only on that. The second priority is supporting the families," Charles Burkett told CNN's John Berman on Monday night.

Miami Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said the search efforts are "a slow process, but we're definitely making progress." Rescuers are working 12-hour shifts and efforts have continued nonstop since the collapse early Thursday morning.

Read more about the investigation here.

7:32 a.m. ET, June 29, 2021

507 older buildings in Miami Beach will be visited by structural engineers

From CNN’s Joe Sutton 

In the wake of the fatal collapse of the Surfside high-rise condominium last Thursday, the neighboring city of Miami Beach made a decision Monday night to deploy structural engineers out to its buildings that are currently undergoing their 40-year recertification process, according to CNN affiliate WPLG.

A total of 507 buildings in Miami Beach fall under that category, Miami Beach City Manager Alina Hudak said to WPLG. 

“I have asked our building official to send inspectors out to do what, quite frankly in this first week, is going to be a very cursory visual review,” she said.

Crews completed 130 property visits as of Monday evening, WPLG reports. 

The city is also sending out a letter asking for updated preliminary inspection reports within the next 21 days; and city officials are hoping this process can be completed within the next 10 days, WPLG says.  

9:17 a.m. ET, June 29, 2021

Miami Marlins create relief fund for those impacted by Surfside collapse

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins announced they will be creating a Marlins Surfside Relief Fund in conjunction with the Miami Marlins Foundation, a news release Monday said.

Bruce Sherman, the Marlins' principal owner and chairman, made the first donation with a $50,000 personal contribution. That amount was matched by Anthony Hsieh, the founder and CEO of Marlins naming-rights partner loanDepot, Inc., with a $50,000 personal donation.  

The news release also said that “the Marlins organization and Marlins ownership group will make an additional $25,000 contribution to the Relief Fund while loanDepot continues to step up to the plate in our community’s time of need with a $25,000 donation, and will join the Marlins to match the next $50,000 contributed to the fund.”

Fans and community members can also donate to the relief fund. 

9:16 a.m. ET, June 29, 2021

What we know about those missing in the Miami condo collapse

From CNN's Theresa Waldrop

Dozens of people remain unaccounted after the collapse of part of a 12-story residential building in Surfside, Florida, authorities have said. 

Search and rescue teams have been feverishly scouring the site since shortly after 55 of the building's 136 units fell on Thursday.

So far at least 11 victims have been identified. They are Stacie Fang, 54, Antonio Lozano, 82, Gladys Lozano, 80, Manuel LaFont, 54, Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, Luis Bermudez, 26, Anna Ortiz, 46, Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, Marcus Joseph Guara, 52, Frank Kleiman, 55 and Michael David Altman, 50.

Fang's teenage son was pulled injured but alive from the rubble, the family has said. The Lozanos were the uncle and godmother of Phil Ferro, the chief meteorologist for CNN affiliate WSVN.

Here's what we know about some of the missing:

Ilan Naibryf: Naibryf, 21, was staying with his girlfriend in her family's condo in the building, according to Naibryf's parents, Ronit Felszer and Carlos Naibryf. Ilan and his girlfriend were in town for a funeral, Naibryf's parents said. On Monday afternoon, more than four days after the collapse, his family said they haven't given up hope of seeing their son alive again, but they realize chances are slim.

Family of Paraguay's first lady: The sister and brother-in-law of Paraguay's first lady, Silvana López Moreira, were staying with their three children at the building, and Paraguay's ministry of external relations has not been able to locate the family, the ministry told CNN en Español. That family — including Sophia López Moreira and her husband Luis Pettengill — was in the US to receive Covid-19 vaccinations, Paraguay's foreign minister said.

6 Colombians: Six Colombian citizens are unaccounted for following the collapse, Colombian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Camila Mugno told CNN on Friday.

Read more about the missing here.

9:15 a.m. ET, June 29, 2021

Rescuers begin their sixth day searching through the debris of collapsed Surfside condo

From CNN's Hollie Silverman, Deanna Hackney and Jamiel Lynch

Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 28 in Surfside.
Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 28 in Surfside. Joe Ra

As rescuers begin their sixth day searching through the debris of a deadly Florida condo collapse, families of the missing are desperately seeking information about their loved ones and investigators are on the scene trying to figure out the cause.

At least 11 people have died in the Champlain Towers Collapse, and 150 remain missing following the tragedy. More than 136 people have been accounted for, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. The deceased victims range in age from 26 to 82.

"We're not giving up hope. We're there every day," Rachel Spiegel, whose mother Judy Spiegel is missing, told CNN's Don Lemon on Monday. "I'm concerned that it's been five, almost six days and we found 11 people and there are still 150 missing," she added.

A six-person team of federal officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – consisting of scientists, structural engineers and a geotechnical engineer – is conducting a preliminary investigation of the collapsed building's materials, history and applicable building codes at the time the condo was built, the ground surrounding the building and numerous other factors, according to an agency official.

As investigators converge on the scene, questions keep coming up about the building's structural integrity. A 2018 report from an engineering firm showed severe structural damage to the concrete slab below the pool deck and "cracking and spalling" located in the parking garage.

Spalling is a term used to describe areas of concrete that have cracked or crumbled.

Residents of the building also had raised concerns over tremors during construction of a nearby building in 2019, according to documents obtained by CNN and interviews with the family members of people missing in the collapse. 

Donna DiMaggio Berger, an attorney for the condominium board, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday that she didn't think the building was in a state of disrepair prior to its collapse.

"We have months and years to dig into what happened, and we're going to. The board is already in the process of hiring an engineer to also try to figure out what happened, and they will be evaluating who's responsible."

The condo owners were facing assessments for $15 million worth of repairs to the building, with payments set to begin July 1.

The association approved the assessment in April to complete repairs required under the county's 40-year recertification process, according to documents obtained by CNN.