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Condo Collapse: Search & Rescue Continues, Death Toll Now At Four

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Rescue and search teams are scouring through twisted steel and concrete looking for signs of life in the aftermath of a condo collapse in Surfside.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday morning there were 159 people who were not accounted for and there were now four deaths. The first victim of the collapse has been identified as 54-year-old Stacie Dawn Fang, the mother of a 16-year-old son.

Fang was the mother of 16-year-old Jonah Handler, a sophomore at Monsignor Edward Pace High School, who was pulled alive from the rubble, according to CNN.

Rescue crews are doing DNA tests with family members to identify victims.

"We will continue search and rescue because we still have hope that we will find people alive. That is exactly why we are continuing. That is why we are using our dogs and our sonar and our cameras, everything possible to seek places where there still may be people to be found," said Levine Cava.

WATCH: Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Update


The mayor said that there are 120 people who have been accounted for.

The collapse happened Thursday, around 1:30 a.m., at the Champlain Towers South, located at 8777 Collins Avenue.

The 12-story condo building has 136 units, and officials said 55 units on the northeast side were involved in the collapse.

The Florida Department of Emergency Management said they received a mutual aid request overnight for additional urban search and rescue teams. Florida Task Force 2 will be the first to rotate in. A total of eight task force teams have been deployed throughout the state and six are on standby.

Families are desperate to find their loved ones.

"My mother is inside. She is in 603. I am hopeful. I see them working on the 03 line right now. I am just praying that they find her," said Rachel Spiguel who came to the scene late Thursday with her family.

She said she wants her mother to know they are waiting for her to come home.

"She is always putting her family first, and her friends first. She is a very loyal person and we just want to bring her home," said Spiguel.

The wait is just agonizing moments for family and friends desperately searching for loved ones. Nicolas Fernandez had visiting friends staying in the section of the building that collapsed.

"They were in one of our units, the unit is no longer there, it's gone. It's a piece of Earth," he said. "I think they're gone. I don't want to be pessimistic, we've been calling them non stop. No reply."

A family reunification center has been set up for anyone looking for unaccounted or missing relatives at the Grand Beach Hote, at 9449 Collins Avenue. People can also call (305) 614-1819.

Anyone who lives in the building is encouraged to complete a Wellness Check Form as part of efforts to ensure all tenants of the building are located.

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