Fall of a building in the Jewish quarter of Miami: at least one dead

Authorities have confirmed that at least one person has died after a partial collapse of a building in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Fla., Early Thursday morning. The mayor, during a press conference, expressed the fear that the building could collapse entirely.
Authorities also believe there could be several deaths. The mayor said 15 family units had come out of the building. 10 people were treated on the spot and two were taken to hospital, but CBS reports that there have been nine hospitalizations so far. One of the hospitalizations was the only confirmed death, according to the mayor. He added that there were probably several apartments still untraceable. The 12-story building called Champlain Towers is located at 8777 Collins Avenue off 88th Street in the heart of one of Miami’s most Jewish neighborhoods. It was built in 1981. A nearby hotel was evacuated as they cannot guarantee that the buildings are stable. “It’s hard to imagine how this can happen,” the mayor said. “Buildings don’t just fall.”
80 relief units were on site, according to the Miami-Dade County Police Department. “I have lost a lot of friends, part of the building is covered in pancakes.” Witnesses told Local 10 that people were trapped inside the south tower of the building. Rescue teams are currently working to remove people from the wreckage. A dramatic video posted by Miami’s WSVN 7 News shows firefighters pulling a miner from the rubble.
An image posted to the Miami Beach Police’s Twitter account showed a tangle of rubble with debris spilling out of what was left of the building’s balconies in the dark. The reason for the collapse is unknown.

2,500 Orthodox Jews lived in Surfside in 2018, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency. It sits across from Harding Avenue, home to a plethora of kosher restaurants and grocery stores.

The Jewish community grew rapidly in the 1980s after years of anti-Semitism in the region. At the center of the community, and at the bottom of the collapse block, is The Shul. It was founded by Chabad-Lubavitcher emissaries and has developed into a main community center.

The collapse also occurred within walking distance of popular area hotels such as the Four Seasons, Grand Beach, and the St. Regis. If you are looking for family members, you can call 305-614-1819. A family reunification center has been established at 9301 Collins Avenue. Emergency information can be found by calling 305-993-1071.
Reuters contributed to this report.

This is a developing story.

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