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'The Building Has Literally Pancaked': After Condo Building Collapse, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett Heartbroken

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The Mayor of Surfside Charles Burkett spoke Thursday morning about the overnight partial condo building collapse that has killed one person and injured at least 9.

Here is what he had to say:

"We have 15 family units that came out of the building on their own. And we put them up at our community center."

"The Red Cross is working with us to get them relocated to a local hotel. We're going to put some of them up in Surfside and some of them are going to go to Aventura or Sunny Isles."

"The Red Cross is working with us to attend to those people."

"We had dogs out in the middle of the night, looking for survivors in the rubble, but it was just so dangerous and so dark that they made one pass and they did not get any hits... The problem is the building has literally pancaked. It has gone down. And I mean, there's just feet in between stories where there were 10 feet."

"That is, is heartbreaking, because it doesn't mean to me that we're going to be successful, as successful as we would want to be to find people alive."

"So, we're working, and I want to give a shout out to Miami Dade County and Miami Beach and all the municipalities that have responded. As you can see, we've got a response here that's unparalleled."

"We've got firefighters, and first responders in that building... that building is potentially going to collapse."

"I was there at two o'clock in the morning, those guys have gone into that building with the potential of collapse and risking their own lives. And they've actually found some people in the remaining part of the building, which is astounding. So those guys, those guys deserve all of our respect and credit and anything else we can give them because they're real heroes, they risked their lives, it's amazing. We got to be very proud."

"It's not really an older building. It was an 80s building."

"So you know, as I did our deco renovations and South Beach years ago, that's how I started. Those are old buildings. Those are from the 20s. This is from the 80s."

"There's no reason for this building to go down like that, unless someone literally pulls out the supports from underneath, or they get washed out, or there's a sinkhole or something like that, because it just went down."

"There was roof work being done. But there's roof work being done on buildings all the time. And it's hard to imagine that that could have been the impetus for such a catastrophic collapse."

"I know that I jogged by that building every day. And I know they had a crane out there, they were lifting stuff up. So as far as I know, they were still in the process of doing the work."

A reporter asked him when was the last time an inspection was done on the building.

"We do inspections all the time. Our building inspector, you know, whenever we do work on a building, especially, you know, for the roof job, I'm sure there was an application, it was an inspection, it was an understanding about how it was going to be staged and how the work was going to be done. So, you know, as you know, we do 40-year inspections here in Florida."

"So, I'm not quite sure if there was a 40-year inspection on this building. But the bottom line is that's not an old building, and 40-year inspection or not, that kind of thing should not be happening."

The mayor is asked how heavy was the equipment that was being put on top of the roof?

"That's a good question. And we need to get the answer to that. Look, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. We, you know, we talked to the building manager about that."

The mayor said they do not log owners when they come in and out, but they log guests.

"So, we do have a log of guests. But we don't have a log of owners and the building manager has intimated to me that the building was substantially full."

"I think we're talking a lot of units. I think we're talking, you know, sort of a building. I understand that building was over 100 units. So you know, it could be at least 30 units building the Champlain tower itself."

"I was told by the Chief that we treated 10 people that had to be transported to the hospital."

"Out of those 10 who were transported, one has passed away."

"The rest are now up at our community center, getting ready to be relocated into a hotel room and the bottom line for dozens of units."

"First responders have cleared the building. So that means they've gone into the units that exist now, and have made sure that there's nobody else in the building that needs to be taken out."

"But to be clear, as there's still an active search for potential survivors."

"I think we need to bring some heavy equipment in."

"It's hard to put into words what it was, like. It's less likely than a lightning strike. It just doesn't happen. You don't see buildings falling down in America."

"Here we had a building literally fall down."

The mayor is asked how many were rescued.

"Well, I think I think we have 15 family units that walked out on their own."

Anything like it's ever happened?

"No, no, nothing like this has happened to us. And I've lived here my whole life. And I've never seen anything like this happen anywhere in Florida."

"I think they (relatives) should be contacting the town of Surfside if they knew that their loved ones were here in the building. So that we can start to piece this thing together. Because we're going to have to know that they're safely out of the building."

"If they were in the building, we need to account for them."

Regarding other buildings in the area:

"A building from the south is far enough away so that the experts believe it's not in danger, should the rest of the building collapse."

"So we're gonna take this one step at a time. Miami-Dade County is leading us, you know, through this, they've got their engineers, they've got their fire people, they've got their first responders, and we're all just following their lead."

"I think the first step is this is coming upon us to try to determine what caused this."

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