At least 18 Jewish residents of a collapsed 12-story Miami condo building are reportedly unaccounted for.
Multiple people are missing with a search and rescue effort underway by Miami-Dade emergency crews.
Multiple casualties have been reported, with at least one fatality.
The “partial building collapse” occurred early Thursday.
More than 80 technical and rescue teams are working at the site of the Surfside condo building, located just north of Miami Beach, reported USA Today.
Firefighters are searching through the rubble which is piled nearly to the top of the remaining portion of the building. Survivors found in the wreckage are being lifted to safety by crews and carried out of the ruins.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told CNN that one person had died. At least 10 others were injured.
"It's less likely than a lightning strike," he said. "It just doesn't happen. You don't see buildings falling down in America."
The search is continuing in the collapsed sections of the building. Unfortunately, experts concluded that the manner in which the building collapsed meant that further recovery efforts might not be successful in rescuing additional people.
"The problem is the building has literally pancaked," Burkett said.
He added that the condo tower was not an old building. “There's no reason for this building to go down like that."
Burkett told Today that the scene was so catastrophic that "it looks like a bomb went off."
Frank Rollason, director of Miami-Dade Emergency Management, told the Miami Herald that more than 70 condo units had been destroyed or damaged.
Emergency crews don’t know exactly how many people were in the building when it went down. They are also unsure how many people inside were able to escape. The building is part of Champlain Towers South. It was built in 1981 and had 135 units.
Sgt. Marian Cruz of Miami Dade Fire Rescue told USA Today that the scene is “still very active.”
“What I can tell you is the building is 12 floors. The entire back side of the building has collapsed,” said Cruz.