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Multistory condo building partially collapses; hundreds of first responders flock to the scene to rescue the trapped

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A multistory condominium building has partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida, killing at least one person and possibly trapping others in the rubble.

More than 80 rescue teams reportedly responded to the scene.

What are the details?

The collapse took place around 2 a.m. local time early Thursday morning.

According to CNN, one person died and at least 10 others were treated at the scene.

Of the disaster, Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett said, "This is a horrific catastrophe. In the United States, buildings just don't fall down."

Kimberly Morales, a woman who lives across the street from the building, said that she was awakened by the sound of alarms going off.

"I woke everyone up in the room because when I looked out the window, I saw everyone outside," she told the outlet. "I told everyone to hurry up and leave the building."

Witness Shmuel Balnaky said that he was walking with his brothers and dog when they heard a "really big rumble."

"And we think that it was a motorcycle — like, classic, early in the morning — and we turn around and we just see a cloud of dust coming our way," he recalled. "And we're just, like, what is going on? So we, like, we start rushing towards there. We pull our shirts over our face so we don't get any, like, dust in our eyes and everything."

Shmuel added, "We have friends who have family that live in the building. We don't even know if they're OK. Some of them are OK. We don't know if the rest are OK."

His brother, Mich, added, "What we saw from the beginning was a huge cloud of smoke and a lot of noise. ... We saw this happen. It was by far the most horrific thing that I've seen. I was alive for 9/11. I didn't see that happen in real life. I saw something like this happen, and it's the closest thing that I can relate to 9/11. This is something that is absolutely insane."

David Shaw, who was inside a neighboring building, said that he felt the whole building shake.

"You couldn't see," he said of the view from his window. "I thought it was, like, a storm or something coming in. When the dust cleared, the back ... two-thirds of the building was gone, it was down to the ground."

What else?

The Jerusalem Post reported that the building — which it identified as Champlain Towers – sits in one of the most Jewish neighborhoods in the Miami area.

According to the outlet, the mayor has expressed concerns that the building might entirely collapse, and authorities believe there may be multiple fatalities.

"The mayor said 15 family units walked out of the building," the outlet reported. "10 people were treated on-site and two were taken to the hospital, however CBS is reporting that there have been nine hospitalizations so far. One of the hospitalizations was the single confirmed fatality, according to the mayor. He added that there are likely several apartments still unaccounted for."

The Miami Herald reported that first responders brought dogs to sniff out any possible survivors in the rubble.

"They aren't turning up much," Surfside Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer said. "No one is celebrating anyone being pulled out."

On Thursday morning, WPLG-TV reported that "numerous others" are trapped in the rubble

"The power has been cut off to the building and it appeared that part of at least four levels were totally destroyed in the collapse," the station reported.

The cause of the collapse remains unknown at the time of this reporting.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has set up a family reunification center, the Herald reported, and encouraged anyone seeking loved ones to call (305) 614-1819.

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