Champlain Towers, a 12-story residential structure gave way under unknown circumstances on June 24, 2021, at around 2:00 Eastern Time Zone. According to sources, one woman had died but more could be trapped under the rubble. A rescue operation initiated and several people have been rescued. Many people have been transferred to hospitals with two being in critical condition. Technical Rescue Teams and Miami Dade Fire Services continued the search operation for people trapped in the structure.
Local authorities and the Police evacuated the surrounding region blocking the nearby roads and allowing only rescue vehicles to approach the building. The area accommodates local residents and tourists as it comprises residential buildings, restaurants, hotels and stores.
The failure was very sudden with witnesses mentioning a loud noise similar to that of an explosion followed by large quantities of rubble falling on the streets. "It looked like something from 9/11," a witness stated referring to the Twin Towers collapse in 2001. Footage from the scene show that a pile of debris has covered the entrance of the building and a cloud of smoke has covered nearby roadways and vehicles.
The build is located at 8777 Collins Avenue and comprises more than 130 apartments from which about 80 were occupied and 30 have been damaged by the failure. It was constructed in 1981 and was undergoing construction works on the roof at the time of the collapse. Fiorella Terenzi, an associate professor at Florida International University who lives in the neighborhood mentioned observing heavy equipment installed on the roof of the structure. However, officials cannot yet clarify whether those works were associated with the collapse.
Photographs retrieved from the site indicate that a large part of the building has given way with officials suggesting that it may be at risk of further collapse. Many families have been evacuated from the building. Charles W. Burkett, the major of Surfside, stated that there is no reason for a building to collapse in this manner and a thorough investigation will be soon launched to find the causes behind this devastating failure. “This is a catastrophic failure of that building and we need to understand what happened,” Mr. Burkett said. Recent updates by the Police suggest that the investigations will last for at least one week.
In 2018, a 13-story condo building in Miami collapsed during demolition works shutting down all traffic on local roads for 3-4 hours and injuring one worker. Two years earlier,a scaffolding failure from a high-rise building that was under construction resulted in 1 fatality and 4 injuries.